The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge

The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

eBook - 2014
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The best-selling author of Nixonland presents a portrait of the United States during the turbulent political and economic upheavals of the 1970s, covering events ranging from the Arab oil embargo and the era of Patty Hearst to the collapse of the South Vietnamese government and the rise of Ronald Reagan.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781476782430 electronic bk
1476782431 electronic bk
Branch Call Number: eBOOK 973.924 PER
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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As Mike Lofgren points out, this book tells the story of how Nixon turned Vietnam MIAs into a political issue and created a myth that persists today.

"In that war, up to 1400 men were considered missing in action and unaccounted for. They were, as in previous wars, presumed dead, but Nixon, with the cynical connivance of his defense secretary, Melvin Laird, began conflating them with the American prisoners held by the North Vietnamese. Given the suppressed guilt felt by many over the war (an emotion that often manifested itself among draft avoiders as chickenhawk hyper-patriotism) publicly “caring” about the fate of the missing became an acceptable surrogate for supporting a war that was well past the point of rational defense."

"Nixon knew he had campaign gold: an issue to justify continuing the war by forcing the enemy to account for and return the men. This he duly exploited, and, once the Paris Peace Accords were agreed to, the POWs “returning with honor” became a national substitute for military victory."

Apr 01, 2017

"The national mood is poisonous and dangerous and this is one symptom--striking out at helpless refugees whose number is infinitesimal."-Harvard sociologist David Riseman, writing about Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s
Simply put, this is one of the best books I've ever read about politics. It's incredibly well-researched and detailed (Without being boring.), fiercely intelligent, illuminating, and provocative. It forms a sort of trilogy of the modern conservative movement with Rick Perlstein's earlier books, "Before the Storm" (about Barry Goldwater) and "Nixonland." In all of these books, he locates many of the political and social fractures we still experience. "The Invisible Bridge" may be his masterpiece, as it tells a compelling counter-narrative to the mainstream views of Reagan and his ilk. What distinguishes Perstlein and his "Baffler" gang (including the great Thomas Frank) is that they critique both parties, are sardonic, and make history and politics vital and relevant. As the subtitle indicates, this book looks at Nixon's disgrace and the emergence of Reagan (beloved and invoked by Republican and Democrat alike) as the new face of the Republican party in the 80s and an ally to Christian conservatives. In Perlstein's hands, Reagan is less the Great Communicator and scourge of atheistic communism as a chipper cipher who blithely enacted destructive policies. At 800 pages, it's a substantial read, but its energy and with never flags. As with any good history, it makes sense of the present as well as the past. Excellent.

Mar 15, 2016

Great Book of politics

Aw_19 Mar 12, 2016

A hefty book with a strong point of view. The author is particularly good at landing upon long-forgotten details of pop culture and weaving them into a thread that reveals some deeper truths about the anxieties of that era. Some readers might take issue with his decidedly negative portrayal of Ronald Reagan. But none of the characters portrayed within his narrative come off as angels. I would say this book may be a tad too long, but is definitely worth reading.

Feb 17, 2015

An Outstanding Read --- a bit weighty but very informative and wonderful trip down memory lane . The nineteen - seventies were indeed a shapeless , burned - out period between the high dramas of the sixties and the bright , hard edges of the Reagan Era . It is nice to reminisce on all the mismash of musical styles and fads and the complete blur of failed Presidents --- a mood of cynicism and farce .


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