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Roger Morris’s image-shattering narrative enables today’s reader to understand the developing character of our thirty-seventh President. The biography can also be read as vintage social and political history with a distinctly California flavor—informed by raucous speculators, fortune-seekers, Wobblies, movie moguls, and vigilantes, and by the utopian reforms of Upton Sinclair, Hiram Johnson’s isolationism, Earl Warren’s honor, even John Steinbeck’s Joads.
Among the stories is the surprising courtship of Pat, with its equally revelatory portrait of the future First Lady; Nixon’s long-obscured prewar politics; his government and wartime military service; the seminal congressional campaign of 1946 and the legendary Senate campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, set against the period’s anticommunist hysteria. And, for sheer drama, the Alger Hiss case is certain to surprise and shock even aficionados of that career-making episode. Likewise, the young prodigal’s…[more]