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Extended Audio Sample Being Nixon: A Man Divided, by Evan Thomas Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Evan Thomas Narrator: Bob Walter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Evan Thomas delivers the best single-volume biography of Richard Nixon to date, a radical, unique portrait of a complicated figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. Thomas brings new life to one of American history’s most infamous, paradoxical, and enigmatic politicians, dispensing with myths to achieve an intimate and evenhanded look at the actual man.

What drove a painfully shy outcast in elite Washington society—a man so self-conscious he refused to make eye contact during meetings—to pursue power and public office? How did a president so attuned to the American political id that he won reelection in a historic landslide lack the self-awareness to recognize the gaping character flaws that would drive him from office and forever taint his legacy?

In Being Nixon, Evan Thomas peels away the layers of the complex, confounding figure who became America’s thirty-seventh president. The son of devout Quakers, Richard Nixon (not unlike his rival John F. Kennedy) grew up in the shadow of an older, favored brother and thrived on conflict and opposition. Through high school and college, in the navy and in politics, he was constantly leading crusades and fighting off enemies real and imagined. As maudlin as he was Machiavellian, Nixon possessed the plainspoken eloquence to reduce American television audiences to tears with his career-saving “Checkers” speech; meanwhile, his darker half hatched schemes designed to take down his political foes, earning him the notorious nickname “Tricky Dick.”

Drawing on a wide range of historical accounts, Thomas reveals the contradictions of a leader whose vision and foresight led him to achieve détente with the Soviet Union and reestablish relations with communist China, but whose underhanded political tactics tainted his reputation long before the Watergate scandal. One of the principal architects of the modern Republican Party and its “silent majority” of disaffected whites and conservative ex-Dixiecrats, Nixon was also deemed a liberal in some quarters for his efforts to desegregate Southern schools, create the Environmental Protection Agency, and end the draft.

A deeply insightful character study as well as a brilliant political biography, Being Nixon offers a surprising look at a man capable of great bravery and extraordinary deviousness—a balanced portrait of a president too often reduced to caricature.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What was it really like to be Richard Nixon? Evan Thomas tackles this fascinating question…The result is both insightful history and an astonishingly compelling psychological portrait.”

    Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Sharp and briskly written.”


  • “Terrifically engaging…Being Nixon should be read by anyone with a more open mind about the oddest man ever to occupy the Oval Office..A fair, insightful, and highly entertaining portrait.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “[An] armchair-ready biography…[a] book in tune with our time.”

    New York Times

  • “[A] fully rounded portrait, carefully pairing each indictment of Nixon with a mitigating perspective…Thomas has a fine eye for the telling quote and the funny vignette, and his style is eminently readable.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Thomas’ book is filled with anecdotes that humanize Nixon. There are pages suggesting real insight and, especially, how the president was seen by those around him.”

    Washington Post

  • “A biography of eloquence and breadth…No [other] single volume about Nixon’s long and interesting life could be so comprehensive.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Thomas proves an amiable and fair-minded tour guide.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Narrator Bob Walter’s baritone pitch and thoughtful inflections and pacing create a perfect match for this masterful biography…Walter’s performance is absolutely engrossing.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Time Magazine Best Book of 2015
  • A Richmond Times-Dispatch Best Book of 2015
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