The Nixon Agonistes Pa

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Overview

From one of America's most distinguished historians comes this classic analysis of Richard Nixon. By considering some of the president's opinions, Wills comes to the controversial conclusion that Nixon was actually a liberal. Both entertaining and essential, Nixon Agonistes captures a troubled leader and a struggling nation mired in a foolish Asian war, forfeiting the loyalty of its youth, puzzled by its own power, and looking to its cautious president for confidence. In the end, Nixon Agonistes reaches far beyond its assessment of the thirty-seventh president to become an incisive and provocative analysis of the American political machine.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Astonishing . . . a stunning attempt to possess that past, that we may all of us escape it."—John Leonard, New York Times Book Review The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618134328
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/14/2002
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 642
  • Sales rank: 1,317,065
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Garry Wills

GARRY WILLS, a distinguished historian and critic, is the author of numerous books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln at Gettysburg, Saint Augustine, and the best-selling Why I Am a Catholic. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, he has won many awards, among them two National Book Critics Circle Awards and the 1998 National Medal for the Humanities. He is a history professor emeritus at Northwestern University.

Biography

Born in Atlanta in 1934 and raised in the Midwest, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and distinguished religion writer Garry Wills entered the Jesuit seminary after high school graduation, but left after six years of training. He received a B.A. from St. Louis University (1957), an M.A. from Xavier University of Cincinnati (1958), and his Ph.D. in classics from Yale (1961).

After graduating from Xavier, Wills was hired to work as the drama critic for National Review magazine, where he became a close personal friend and protégé of founding editor William F. Buckley. But as the winds of change blew across the 1960s, Wills got caught up in the cross-currents. A staunch Catholic anti-Communist in his youth, he began to drift away from political conservatism, galvanized by the civil rights movement and the Vietnam debate. He parted ways with National Review and began writing for more liberal-leaning publications like Esquire and the New York Review of Books, a defection that left him slightly estranged from Buckley for many years. (They reconciled before Buckley's death in 2008.)

In 1961, while he was still in grad school, Wills's first book, Chesterton: Man and Mask was published. [It was revised and reissued in 2001 with a new author's introduction.] Since then, the prolific Wills has gone on to pen critically acclaimed nonfiction that roams across history, politics, and religion. He expanded one of his Esquire articles into Nixon Agonistes (1970), a probing profile John Leonard said "...reads like a combination of H. L. Mencken, John Locke and Albert Camus." (The book landed Wills on the famous Nixon's Enemies List.) He has also written penetrating studies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Wayne, and Saint Paul; he has won two National Book Critics Circle Awards; and his 1992 book Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Something of a rara avis, Wills is a Catholic intellectual who has produced thoughtful, scholarly books on religion in America. His translations of St. Augustine have received glowing reviews, and he has acted both as an outspoken critic of the Church (Papal Sin) and as an ardent advocate for his own faith Why I Am a Catholic). Proof of his accessibility can be found in the fact that several of his religion books have become bestsellers.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      May 22, 1934
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, GA
    1. Education:
      St. Louis University, B.A., 1957; Xavier University, M.A., 1958; Yale University, Ph.D., 1961

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Mariner Edition
Preface
I The Moral Market (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
1 The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 3
2 The Center Cannot Hold 34
3 The Politics of Resentment 55
4 The Denigrative Method 72
5 Checkers 91
6 The Hero 115
7 The Common Man 139
8 Whittier: First Day 150
9 Whittier: Second Day 168
II The Economic Market (Adam Smith)
1 Miami, 1968 189
2 Political Philanthropy 206
3 Republican Camelot 219
4 They, the People 229
5 The Goldwater Party 246
6 Southern Strategy 258
7 The Succeeder 276
8 The Non-Succeeders 294
9 Making It 306
III The Intellectual Market (John Stuart Mill)
1 Chicago, 1968 319
2 Liberals 335
3 Radicals 356
4 The Establishment 374
5 The War on War 388
6 Plastic Man 403
IV The Political Market (Woodrow Wilson)
1 "Self-Determination" 419
2 A Good Election 434
3 The Covenant 456
4 Universalism 471
5 Our Country! 481
V The Future of Liberalism
1 Saving the System 499
2 Refiguring the Calculus 518
3 "Left" and "Right" in America 539
4 "Beyond Left and Right" 558
5 Nixon Triumphans: The Self-Made Man 576
6 Nixon Agonistes: The Last Liberal? 589
Index to Proper Names 605
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    maybe the best way to know this man

    A difficult book, it was topical when first published. now many of the references would be obscure to most of us. the political references are to men long departed from the stage, and the men of ideas are also no longer current. i would bet that a 30 year old couldn't get through this at all, unless well schooled in political theory.

    nonetheless, its a deep book, and maybe the most accurate one on who Nixon really was.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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