As Americans we enjoy one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities that can be afforded to any people: participation in the electoral process. The election process in our country is something we are very familiar with. With presidential elections held every four years and mid-term congressional election in between, we seem to be in a constant election cycle where we are inundated with campaigning and campaign promises. We have also been exposed to some great, and no so great, politicians who have produced some incredible highs and embarrassing lows. We tend to elevate politicians to movie-star status. (Actually, we have had a movie star become president) One such political figure was Richard M. Nixon. Nixon’s road to the presidency was littered with success and failure. In his new book, “The Greatest Comeback; How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority”, conservative political commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan tells the story of how Richard Nixon ascended to the presidency of the United States.
Pat Buchanan was an editorial writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat prior to becoming an aide to Nixon in 1965. His book covers the three year period of 1965-1968. The bulk of the book begins with, and moves forward from, the election cycle of 1966 with Buchanan describing the state of the union under President Lyndon Johnson and the democratic-held Congress. Buchanan offers a look into the struggles the Republican Party had in voicing their opposition to areas such as the war in Vietnam and other social concerns at the time.
The subtitle to Buchanan’s book speaks of a comeback. For someone to have a comeback they had to have had past success and then lost it. This was the case with Nixon. He served as vice-president from 1953-1961. After suffering sound defeats in the presidential race of 1960 and the California gubernatorial race of 1962, Nixon declared he was finished with politics saying, “You won’t have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore”. However, Nixon did come back into politics. Buchanan details how tirelessly Nixon worked to get Republican governors elected in 1966. This investment of time and attention paid off with big dividends in November of 1968. He also reveals that part of Nixon’s comeback success was the advisors he surrounded himself with, his knowledge of foreign and domestic issues, and his ability to appeal to both moderate and conservative Republicans. This appeal was solidified as Nixon weighed in on the chaotic events of 1968. Buchanan wrote about this year saying, “America was falling apart as witnessed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh, the Tet Offensive, the worst race riots in history, anarchic violence at Columbia University and other campuses, and a President broken by Vietnam, where 200 to 300 U.S. soldiers were being killed every week.”
“The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority” is a thoroughly researched, well-written, informative, and entertaining work. I especially enjoyed Buchanan’s enclosed memos that he sent to Nixon while he was a candidate, as well as Nixon’s hand-written notes. This really helped the book to excel. This book would appeal to history buffs and political junkies. Because Buchanan chose the conversational style over the documentary style, it is enjoyable read. Buchanan’s best work to date.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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.”