Just Plain Dick: Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech and the

Just Plain Dick: Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech and the "Rocking, Socking" Election of 1952

by Kevin Mattson


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It all started with some businessmen bankrolling Richard Nixon to become a “salesman against socialization.” But in this precursor to current campaign finance scandals, Nixon had some explaining to do to keep his place on Dwight Eisenhower's Republican ticket, so he took to the airwaves. The “Checkers” speech saved and bolstered Nixon's political career and set the tone for the 1952 campaign. Just Plain Dick is political history and more. It's the story of a young man nearing a nervous breakdown and staging a political comeback. While the narrative focuses tightly, almost cinematically, on the 1952 election cycle-from the spring primary season to the summer conventions, then to the allegations against Nixon through to the speech in September, and finally the election in November-Mattson also provides a broad-stroke depiction of American politics and culture during the Cold War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620400685
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 08/20/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Kevin Mattson is the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University. He is the author of Rebels All!, When America Was Great, Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century, Intellectuals in Action, and What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President? Mattson writes for the American Prospect, Dissent, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, and many other publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Portrait of the Young Political Artist as Madman (from the Inner Cranium to History) 1

Chapter 1 Anxieties… of a Cold War Spring and an "Inside Dopester" 13

Chapter 2 A Summer of "the Great Salesroom" 49

Chapter 3 "A Wonderful Guy"? 89

Chapter 4 "Chin Up" 130

Chapter 5 "America Has Taken Dick Nixon to Its Heart" 161

Conclusion: The Dog That Bit 202

Acknowledgments 213

Bibliographic Notes 215

Notes 219

Index 249

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