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THE YEAR THAT BROKE POLITICS

COLLUSION AND CHAOS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1968

A fresh, authoritative analysis of a pivotal election year.

A revisionist view of a momentous election.

Historian Nichter, who received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in support of this book, draws on abundant archival sources and interviews with 85 key individuals to create a penetrating examination of the 1968 presidential election, a contest among Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and former Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Setting the election in the context of the political, social, and economic upheaval that roiled the nation, the author examines the appeal of third-party candidate Wallace; explains Lyndon Johnson’s tepid support for his vice president, Humphrey; and raises questions about the scandal surrounding the ties between Chinese-born socialite Anna Chennault and Nixon. Anti-war and Black Power protests, along with the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, “brought a period of national soul-searching.” Wallace, as “the living embodiment of resistance to social change,” appealed to voters fearful of unrest and rising crime. His critics, Nichter argues, “by remaining focused on his racist origins, missed the deeper bonds he was forming with anti-establishment supporters.” The polls consistently showed that Wallace “received high marks for ‘saying it the way it really is,’ and for having ‘the courage of his convictions.’ ” He has proven to be a model, Nichter asserts, for “every conservative who has run for the presidency since 1968.” Whereas Eisenhower endorsed his former vice president, Johnson, with history in mind, “saw the rightward shift of the nation and came to believe that a President Nixon,” rather than Humphrey, “would be better for Lyndon Johnson’s legacy.” While Humphrey struggled to distance himself from Johnson’s policies, Nixon promised Johnson—through go-between Billy Graham—to promote his position in Vietnam peace negotiations. Accusations that Chennault acted for him in preventing peace talks, Nichter has found, are unsubstantiated; Nixon, he asserts, was trying “to rally people toward Johnson’s Vietnam position, not commit treason against it.”

A fresh, authoritative analysis of a pivotal election year.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9780300254396

Page Count: 396

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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