Age of Nixon, The
applies Marxism and psychoanalysis to the study of American politics. In America, every age is the Age of Nixon.
The fundamental argument of 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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Richard Nixon was real, for all that he seems like a fictional character concocted in the course of some strange literary collaboration between Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Theodore Dreiser, and J. G. Ballard. And Nixon continues to fascinate us, and to haunt our dreams, even these many years after his death. Carl Freedman's compelling book takes the full measure of Nixon the man, Nixon the media image, Nixon the myth, and even Nixon the ideal type, the quintessential expression, and the most capacious representative of the political and economic system under which we continue to live today.~ Steven Shaviro, author of CONNECTED, WITHOUT CRITERIA, and POST-CINEMATIC AFFECT
This is a wonderfully informed and enlightening exercise in cultural and political analysis, in which Freedman tackles the problem, just what was this man who was vice president, then a two-term president of the United States. It examines how Nixon's flaws--and his considerable strengths--fitted into, reflected, and finally illuminate philosophy, novels, and films, to produce, what, for better or for worse, can reasonably be called the Age of Nixon. Given the U.S.'s recent turn toward the conservative, it's amazingly timely and informative about the nature of such forces.~ Samuel R. Delany, author of DHALGREN, DARK REFLECTIONS, and TIMES SQUARE RED/TIMES SQUARE BLUE