Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nixonland and Post American World

A couple of non-fiction titles that look interesting are reviewed in the Sunday New York Times.
I've been a fan of Fareed Zakaria since reading the Future of Freedom a few years back. He's kind of an erudite sage with a bit of a cool factor. His site is also required reading.
As for Nixonland, there's been a bunch of books that document whats been called the Rise of the Right, but Nixon put it in motion. For better or worse, it was Nixon who employed the Southern strategy that has all but locked up the White House for Republicans for most of the last three decades. He was a Shakespearean character, more cunning than smart and blessed with great political instincts and enough personal demons to make his every utterance and policy tack fascinating. Margaret MacMillan's Nixon in China was an especially fine book in that regard.
The review by George Will (another right wing guilty pleasure of mine and its a pretty short list) is wonderfully adroit as well.
Below is a typical paragraph, grudgingly complimentary all the way:
"Because the baby boomers’ self-absorption is so ample, there already has been no shortage of brooding about those years. We do, however, benefit from the brooding by Perlstein, who is not a boomer, for two reasons. First, he has a novelist’s, or perhaps an anthropologist’s, eye for illuminating details, as in his jaw-dropping reconstruction of the Newark riots of July 1967. Second, his thorough excavation of the cultural detritus of that decade refutes his thesis, which is that now, as then, Americans are at daggers drawn."
I'm sure going to make time for this.

Posted by Dave

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