An engaging and well-written book that illuminates Nixon through the exploration of the midpoint of his career.



From the Law, Culture, and the Humanities Series series

A biography of Richard Nixon focuses on his years at a New York law firm before running for president.

In this debut history book, Li examines one of the less famous periods of Nixon’s professional life, from his loss in the 1962 election for governor of California through his political rehabilitation and his successful run for president in 1968. The work focuses on Nixon’s tenure at the Wall Street law firm that was renamed Nixon Mudge when he joined, drawing high-profile clients and repairing his public persona. Li shows how formative Nixon’s law firm years were, giving him the opportunity to build the relationships necessary for a national campaign and also introducing him to colleagues like Leonard Garment and John Mitchell, who became important figures during his presidency. The work concludes with a brief overview of Watergate and its effect on Nixon Mudge alumni and the story of the firm’s decline in the ’80s and ’90s. Drawing on both primary sources and previous scholarship, Li brings a lawyer’s perspective to this analysis of Nixon’s career, going into detail about his argument before the Supreme Court in a First Amendment case that involved Time Inc. and Life magazine. The author employs an informed historical viewpoint, tracing the connections between Nixon’s path and the careers of other presidential aspirants. The prose is solid, flavored by Li’s taste for metaphor (“If Kennedy was Camelot, then Nixon seemed to represent Prince John from ‘Robin Hood’ ”), balancing analysis with substantial quotations from the principals involved. The book also does an excellent job balancing its particular focus with the need to provide readers with sufficient background, resulting in a solid overview of the time period and the political climate surrounding Nixon Mudge. Li approaches Nixon and the volume’s other notorious characters with open eyes, acknowledging their strengths while pointing out the flaws that eventually led to crimes, convictions, and resignations. The author presents readers with well-rounded portraits of key figures in U.S. law and politics in the second half of the 20th century.

An engaging and well-written book that illuminates Nixon through the exploration of the midpoint of his career.

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68393-000-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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