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December 18 , 2009

The Age of Nixon

A Study in Cultural Power


The fundamental argument this book is, first, that Richard Nixon, though not generally regarded as a charismatic or emotionally outgoing politician like Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, did establish profound psychic connections with the American people, connections that can be detected both in the brilliant electoral success that he enjoyed for most of his career and in his ultimate defeat during the Watergate scandal; and, second and even more important, that these connections are symptomatic of many of the most important currents in American life. The book is not just a work of political history or political biography but a study of cultural power: that is, a study in the ways that culture shapes our politics and frames our sense of possibilities and values. In its application of Marxist, psychoanalytic, and other theoretical tools to the study of American electoral politics, and in a way designed for the general as well as for the academic reader, it is a new kind of book.

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