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Reinventing Richard Nixon : a cultural history of an American obsession /
Daniel Frick.
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2008.
xi, 331 p. : ill.
0700615997 (cloth), 9780700615995 (cloth)
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series title
series title
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2008.
0700615997 (cloth)
9780700615995 (cloth)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [285]-315) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-04-01:
In this interesting, exhaustive review, Frick (English, Franklin and Marshall College) explores the many ways Richard Nixon has been represented, and represented himself, in American political life and culture. The thoroughness of Frick's analysis can be easily demonstrated: there are 44 pages of footnotes in his text and 30 pages of bibliography. Frick examines the myths that Nixon used to frame his political career and to reinvent himself post-Watergate, and that have emerged in American political life regarding Nixon's life and times. These are situated in the broader context of American political cultural history. Each is illustrated through reference to, and thoughtful reflection on, a staggering array of literary, professional, and journalistic accounts of Nixon's life, including those from Nixon's own work. The text also contains a broad array of editorial and social cartoons that usefully illustrate Frick's theses. This is an essential work for anyone interested in the multiple dimensions of Nixon's political career and public reactions to it. It is also an excellent example of cultural analysis. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. A. L. Crothers Illinois State University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-09-15:
Fourteen years after Nixon's death, the debate still rages about his place in American history as a man of destiny, corrupt president, or elder statesman, writes Frick (director, Creative Writing Ctr., Franklin and Marshall Coll.). The author interprets Nixon through national myths that are embedded in American culture and provide the battleground for today's culture wars. This thought-provoking and perceptive account, like David Greenberg's Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image, offers numerous historical and cultural anecdotes that bolster the authors' similar conclusion that the second half of the 20th century was like an Age of Nixon. Greenberg primarily investigates how Nixon was viewed by different political constituencies, while Frick explores how Nixon has been portrayed in books, music, plays, and political cartoons and how he spins himself in his three autobiographies. He interprets Nixon through a number of myths that include rising from rags to riches and fulfilling America's messianic role of being the leader of the free world. Frick is good at showing the dark sides of these myths, and his excellent appraisal reveals as much about the former president's supporters and haters as it does about Nixon himself. Strongly recommended for large public and all academic popular-culture collections.--Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, September 2008
PW Annex Reviews, September 2008
Choice, April 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
"Nixons the One " proclaimed his campaign paraphernalia. "Tricky Dick " retorted his detractors. From presidential savior for conservative America to bte noire for the political Left, the Richard Nixon persona has worn many masks and labels. In fiction and poetry and pop songs, in television and film, no other national political figure has so thoroughly saturated our public consciousness with so many contrasting images. Focusing on the process of Nixons continuous reinvention, Daniel Frick reveals a figure who continues to expose key fault lines in the nations self-definition. Drawing on references ranging from All in the Family to Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, he shows how Nixon has become one of Americas most durable and multifaceted icons in the ongoing and fierce debates over the import and meaning of the last sixty years of national life. Examining Nixons autobiographies and political memorabilia, Frick offers far-reaching perceptions not only of the man but of Nixons version of himself-contrasted with those who would interpret him differently. He cites reinventions of Nixon from the late 1980s, particularly the museum at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, to demonstrate the resilience of certain national mythic narratives in the face of liberal critiques. And he recounts how celebrants at Nixons state funeral, at which Bob Doles eulogy depicted a God-fearing American hero, attempted to bury the sources of our divisions over him, rendering in some minds the judgment of "redeemed statesman" to erase his status as "disgraced president." With dozens of illustrations-Nixon posing with Elvis (the National Archives most requested photo), Nixonian cultural artifacts, classic editorial cartoons-no other book collects in one place such varied images of Nixon from so many diverse media. These reinforce Fricks probing analysis to help us understand why we disagree about Nixon-and why it matters how we resolve our disagreements. Whether your image of Nixon is shaped by his autobiography Six Crises, Oliver Stones surprisingly sympathetic film Nixon, John Adamss landmark opera Nixon in China, or by the saga of Watergate, Reinventing Richard Nixon expands on all perspectives. It shows how, through these contradictory mythic stories, we continue to reinvent, much like Nixon himself, our own sense of national identity.
Table of Contents
Abbreviationsp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Richard Nixon and the Many Faces of a Representative Americanp. 1
"Ragged Dick" Nixon, American Missionaryp. 18
Jeremiah at San Clemente: Richard Nixon and the Decline of the American Republicp. 46
"Anyone Can Be the President": Behind the Mask of Successp. 77
The Self-Made Monster: America and the Myth of National Missionp. 106
Richard Mephisto Nixon: Further Adventures in American Political Demonologyp. 133
"Never Give Up": American Orthodoxy, Revised Standard Versionp. 171
Nixon, Now More than Everp. 203
Notesp. 239
Bibliographyp. 285
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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