Rick Perlstein could have called his book "Paranoia."
If Perlstein's history of the 1960s and early '70s in America has a throughline, it's mistrust. Parents don't trust their children. Enlisted men don't trust their officers. Blacks don't trust whites, Southerners don't trust Northerners, the Silent Majority doesn't trust the Intellectual Establishment, and -- soon enough -- nobody trusts the government.
And in the midst of it all was Richard Nixon: Red-baiter, former vice president, failed gubernatorial nominee, punch line, political strategist and president, a master at playing both sides to maintain his hold on power. In doing so, he provided a roadmap for his successors. Read full article »