Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Being Nixon: A Man Divided

Opaque. The standard by which I measure biographers of United States presidents is Robert Caro and his fine work on making sense of Lyndon Johnson by taking a clear point of view on the subject. I had high expectations upon opening Evan Thomas’ biography of the enigmatic Richard Nixon titled, Being Nixon: A Man Divided. I kept waiting for Thomas to sort out Nixon in a way that would answer questions. I had the sense that Thomas came away from this project with many unanswered questions, and was as divided as the subject when it comes to unresolved contradictions in behavior and action. I enjoyed this book best when it enhanced some aspects of Nixon’s personal life. I liked his interest in the movies, and the ways in which Nixon played music loudly, especially his favorite Victory at Sea album. Readers who love politics are those most likely to enjoy reading this book. For those expecting greater clarity about Nixon, there are tidbits here, but RN remains opaque even after 600 pages. Rating: Three-star (It’s ok) Click here to purchase Being Nixon from amazon.com.

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