This is the ideal book for someone who wants to be entertained and also to learn about a US politics in the 1960s. How can you do both? Certainly, books about US politics are not entertaining? And to that I say: you must read Nixonland.
The sprawling book starts during the Watts riots in 1964 in the shadow of Lyndon Johnson's overwhelming presidential victor, which left America's conservative movement broken. Through shrewdly selected anecdotes, Perlstein shows how Nixon used riots, anti–Vietnam War protests, the drug culture and other displays of unrest as an easy relief against which to craft a campaign for his narrow win of 1968 and landslide victory of 1972. Nixon spoke of solid, old-fashioned American values, law and order and respect for the traditional hierarchy. In this way, says Perlstein, Nixon created a new dividing line in the rhetoric of American political life that remains with us today. At the same time, Perlstein illuminates the many demons that haunted Nixon, especially how he came to view his political adversaries as enemies of both himself and the nation and brought about his own downfall.