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Publishers WeeklyIn this wide-ranging, reference-heavy volume, first-time author Frick examines the many public faces of Richard Nixon, and how they reflect countrywide changes in mood and politics. Frick has a masterful reach across different media, from political cartoons (Herb Block's 1954 panel portraying Nixon emerging from the sewer) to movies and literature to campaign propaganda, biographies and autobiographies, to supporters and detractors in the government and news media. Frick is able time and again to nail the tone of the nation in a few well-chosen quotes; when the president left office in shame in 1974, Vermont newspaperman Franklin B. Smith speaks for the forgotten Nixon nation: "The heart of America stopped beating this week." Taking readers from the early days of Nixon's national career to his eulogy, at which he was (tellingly) lionized by biographer Stephen E. Ambrose as a "beloved elder statesman," Frick sets an enormous task for himself, trying to tie down all aspects of this "representative American." Casual readers could find it all too much; readers with an avid interest in popular and historical political science, however, will find this an absorbing, expertly researched look at the many roles a single controversial figure can play in American life. Illus.
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