Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pg. 69: "Nixon's Shadow"

David Greenberg is assistant professor of History and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. His books include Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image and Calvin Coolidge (forthcoming).

The esteemed biographer-poet-novelist Jay Parini praised Nixon's Shadow: "Digging into a plethora of sources, including print archives, biographies, newsreels, movies, plays, songs and cartoons, [Greenberg] turns the image of Nixon around like a many-sided jewel, seeing how the light shines differently through each facet."

The eminent historian Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, on Nixon's Shadow-- "Groundbreaking....A landmark in Nixon scholarship."

I asked David to apply the "page 69 test" to his book. Here is his reply:
Nixon's Shadow is not a biography of Nixon but a history of his public image. Each of the eight chapters looks, in sequence, at a different group of Americans and the image of Nixon it formed and disseminated in the general culture. I hope that cumulatively these chapters not only add up to a richer picture of Nixon but also tell us something about how image making in postwar American politics has evolved and functions.

Page 69 is from the second chapter, on the 1950s liberals who were the original "Nixon haters" and their image of "Tricky Dick," a moniker that dates to that period. It's arguably the most important chapter in the book, since these were the ones who came closest to getting Nixon right -- even though in the book I am hard on them for the ways in which ideological predilections shaped their views.

It is also interesting that on page 69 I discuss the 1960 election, in which Nixon's image -- especially his five o'clock shadow in the debates against Kennedy -- did him harm. Notably, the title of the book is, among other things, a reference to this "shadow."
Many thanks to David for the input.

For more information and more praise about the book, click here.

Click here to listen to NPR's Alex Chadwick talk with David Greenberg about Nixon's Shadow.

In a recent post over at The New Republic's Open University blog, David discussed the Euston Manifesto and its American counterpart: click here for the story.

Over at this site (about halfway down the page) David tells the story about how he missed a chance to write for a TV show that would come to be known as..."The West Wing."

David writes the "History Lesson" column over at Slate. Click here to peruse some of his columns.

David Greenberg's Calvin Coolidge should hit the bookstores in December 2006.

Previous "page 69 tests":
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue