Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I recently read "NIXONLAND" by Rick Perlstein. If you like non-fiction you should definitely pick up this book.
The premise of the book is how Richard Nixon used a turbulent time in American history to his favor by making politics more divisive and thus helping himself rise politically. I actually don't agree with part of the thesis of the book -- I think American political parties have always been divisive since the formulation of parties; Nixon just appeared to have mastered the game.
The book though is a fantastic read. Perlstein's writing style is both informative and often hilarious. The guy can take a major moment in history and sum it up in a paragraph in a way few other writers can. As a lover of history, there were so many anecdotes in this book that made it a constant page turner.
Naturally Vietnam is a story line weaved throughout the book; you can't have a book about the era without Vietnam being a major part of it. It was really fascinating reading how Nixon used Vietnam for his political gain while actually having no concrete plan to end the war. As a reader, looking back on history, it is unbelievably frustrating to see how the game of politics was played out and how it cost America and Vietnam so much more than it had to.