The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority

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Overview

Patrick J. Buchanan, bestselling author and senior advisor to Richard Nixon, tells the definitive story of Nixon's resurrection from the political graveyard and his rise to the presidency.

After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six ...
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The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority

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Overview

Patrick J. Buchanan, bestselling author and senior advisor to Richard Nixon, tells the definitive story of Nixon's resurrection from the political graveyard and his rise to the presidency.

After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and reunite a shattered and fractured Republican Party to capture the White House?

In The Greatest Comeback, Patrick J. Buchanan--who, beginning in January 1966, served as one of two staff members to Nixon, and would become a senior advisor in the White House after 1968--gives a firsthand account of those crucial years in which Nixon reversed his political fortunes during a decade marked by civil rights protests, social revolution, The Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, urban riots, campus anarchy, and the rise of the New Left. Using over 1,000 of his own personal memos to Nixon, with Nixon’s scribbled replies back, Buchanan gives readers an insider’s view as Nixon gathers the warring factions of the Republican party--from the conservative base of Barry Goldwater to the liberal wing of Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney, to the New Right legions of an ascendant Ronald Reagan--into the victorious coalition that won him the White House. How Richard Nixon united the party behind him may offer insights into how the Republican Party today can bring together its warring factions.

The Greatest Comeback is an intimate portrayal of the 37th President and a fascinating fly on-the-wall account of one of the most remarkable American political stories of the 20th century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/04/2014
After losing one of the most agonizingly close presidential elections in U.S. history in 1960, followed by a humiliating loss for California's governorship in 1962, Richard Nixon seemed doomed for history's trash pile. In his "last" press conference, he famously said: "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Instead, he regrouped and emerged triumphant in the 1968 presidential election. But how? One of the people best equipped to answer the question is Nixon's first pre-1968 election hire: the young conservative Patrick Buchanan. In this account from January 1966 to Nixon's inauguration in 1968, Buchanan offers memories and insights on the meetings, memos, stump speeches, and conversations Nixon waded through to get to the White House. Details and factoids abound for politics junkies, like Barry Goldwater urging Nixon in a memo to consider Ronald Reagan for his ticket in 1968. Buchanan is a capable writer and skilled at providing succinct summary of the complex politics of the era. Buchana's opinions are controversial, calling affirmative action "a system of racial entitlements" and saying that Nixon's resignation due to Watergate was "the first political coup d'état in U.S. History". Buchanan's memoir is deeply loyal to Nixon, and ultimately, a political defense. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-21
The populist conservative and senior adviser to Richard Nixon tells how he helped turn the loser into a winner.Against all odds, Nixon won the presidency in 1968, barely defeating Hubert Humphrey and reviving the moribund GOP in the process. As one of Nixon’s first young converts, then aSt. LouisGlobe-Democrateditorial writer fresh out of Columbia’s journalism school, Buchanan (Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?, 2011, etc.), a disappointed Goldwater supporter and one of the more hard-core young Republicans then emerging, talked his way into Nixon’s good graces as early as 1966, during the period of Nixon’s toiling in the “wilderness” of his Manhattan law firm after the crushing defeats of 1960 (against JFK for the presidency) and 1962 (for governor of California). The same sore loser who had made his unfortunate “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” morning-after speech had two qualities that saved him, Buchanan writes: loyalty to his party and a fighting spirit. Indeed, restoring the party base was a key element to his ultimate success, since the GOP had lost both houses by 1954 and was fatally split by 1964 between the John Birch Society-Goldwater hard-liners and the more moderate Republicans represented by New York’s Nelson Rockefeller and Michigan Gov. George Romney. Nixon—as well as Buchanan and other important “advance men”—threw their energy into courting the conservative press and laying down a strategy for helping the GOP recoup losses in the midterm election of 1966. This strategy included reasserting law and order, endorsing Rockefeller (whom they loathed) for governor, and fashioning a new Republican Party of the South that rested on human rights and not bigotry. Buchanan was privy to all kinds of secret conversations and memos regarding Vietnam, LBJ, RFK and many unsung politicians and newspapermen who shaped the debate.A mostly evenhanded (from this great distance) consideration of a president from one of his closest advisers.
From the Publisher
“An evenhanded insider take on Nixon's storied political rebirth…Buchanan deals the story with a great deal of humility…Much more a balanced history than a me-me-me memoir.” –Chicago Tribune

"Should be required reading for RNC staff and everyone across the country trying to help the GOP win the Senate… A fun read not only for the opportunity to see Nixon in such a personal, behind-the-scenes way, but also for the lessons it offers us today.” -Newsmax

“A fast-moving account of those comeback years, written in strong, clear prose…An upbeat portrait of Nixon as a surprisingly compassionate man, but a tough politician, energetic and well-informed, with a deep knowledge of world affairs and ideas about how to reset the balance of power and restore America’s international standing.” –Washington Times

“Buchanan’s book performs the useful service of describing a populist triumph from the inside.” –The Economist 

“A conveniently incisive study guide to the 1968 presidential election… In his own unsparing way, Buchanan sums up the political tumult of the era—tumult signaling that the long reign of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society were coming to an end.” -Breitbart

“Offers memories and insights on the meetings, memos, stump speeches, and conversations Nixon waded through to get to the White House. Details and factoids abound for politics junkies…Buchanan is a capable writer and skilled at providing succinct summary of the complex politics of the era.” –Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553418637
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 78,463
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICK J. BUCHANAN, America's leading populist conservative, was a senior adviser to three U.S. presidents, ran for the Republican nomination in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party's presidential candidate in 2000. The author of eleven other books, Buchanan is a syndicated columnist and founding member of three of America's foremost public affairs shows, NBC's The McLaughlin Group and CNN's Crossfire and Capitol Gang. He lives in McLean, Virginia.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 2, 2014

    Even though names for presidential candidates are already being

    Even though names for presidential candidates are already being bantered around, it' still too early for any really exciting discussions about the 2016 election.

    So what to do?

    Well, for all those uber politicos out there, Patrick Buchanan can help you fill the political void with his latest book, "The Greatest Comeback," published by Crown Forum.

    You would have to be an uber politico to wade through this hardback, which has a very narrow topic that is stated concisely in the book's sub-title: "How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority."

    Don't expect a biography on Nixon, or a behind-the-scenes look at his administration. This is the story of how Nixon surprised everyone by not only resurrecting his political career, but achieved an astonishing political comeback that made him the 37th President of the United States.

    As far as that goes, don't expect the book to be entirely about Nixon. While Buchanan does tell of Nixon's rise to the presidency, a lot of the story is told regarding his own contribution to crafting Nixon's win.

    "The Greatest Comeback" picks up after Nixon's loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960, and then his embarrassing failed attempt for the governorship of California in 1962. Everyone thought that was the end of Nixon's political career. It's at that point this story begins.

    But don't expect an easy-flowing story. This book clips along rapidly at dishing out the nuts-and-bolts activity of developing and executing political strategy than it does at telling the story of Nixon, the person, during this time. That's why you really do have to be an uber politico to enjoy this volume; you'll be awash in names both familiar and not of politicians, pundits, political hacks, and journalists and their small or large bits in rebuilding a new majority that would put Nixon in power.

    At times, I thought there's just too much minutia in the telling of this story, and no real broad, compelling story lines. Yet, I found myself reading just one more page until I had completed the book.

    Maybe there's a little uber politico in myself.

    That and an interest in political history, and this book might be an interesting filler until the 2016 campaign really begins to light up.

    I received this book free from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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