Who was the real Richard Nixon and why did he behave the way he did? In this innovative work, a distinguished historian, trained in psychoanalysis, unravels the riddle of Nixon's singularly opaque political personality. Neither a political biography, nor a clinical psychoanalysis, at the time of its initial publication, In Search of Nixon launched a new genre of scholarship; the "psycho-historical inquiry." Mazlish offers insight into the subtle interplay between Nixon the man and Nixon the public figure.
Why, for example, did Nixon have such personal difficulties in making decisions? Knowing how the young Nixon learned to cope with the problems of his childhood, what can we infer about his unpredictable decisions on Communist China, inflation, and the Supreme Court? Bruce Mazlish applies psychoanalysis to history in order to understand Nixon's behaviour, decisions, and political stance. He explains why Nixon characteristically projected personal crises onto the political arena―as, for example, in the famous Checkers speech, or in the Haynsworth-Carswell affair. And he examines why, conversely, political questions such as pacifism, abortion, and subversion had such a peculiarly personal meaning for him.
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Bruce Mazlish was professor emeritus of history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of The Leader, The Led, and the Psyche; The Revolutionary Ascetic, In Search of Nixon The Riddle of History; Reflections on the Modern and the Global, and Globalization and Transformation.
Howard G. Schneiderman is professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College.
“Admittedly bad psychohistory is at best a worthless drill and at worst it can be a malicious weapon for historical derision and libel. . . . On the other hand, when psychohistory is cautiously viewed as a ""retrodictive"" rather than ""predictive"" discipline and used with extreme scholarly discretion . . . it can illuminate our understanding of the historical record. Mazlish's own psychohistorical quest for the real Richard Nixon clearly falls into this latter category; Mazlish employs the technique judiciously and fairly and his book belongs among the best Nixon literature to date. . . . Mazlish constructs a personality profile of the President, considering the effects of Nixon's childhood illnesses, the early deaths of two of his brothers, the influence of his strong mother and weak father, his initial political experiences, etc. . . . This is the most complete and dispassionate psychological sketch of Richard Nixon we are likely to have for some time to come.”
“Professor Mazlish points out that his purpose is not to offer the President therapy, but to unravel for the public certain mysteries of a strikingly opaque personality. He succeeds in a thoroughly admirable way.”
—Harriet Van Horne, nationally syndicated columnist
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Book Description Basic Books, 1972. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110465032192