Thoughts on: ‘Richard Nixon: A Life’ John A. Farrell

Some reading projects are more ambitious than others. On my journey to reading a biography of every American president the time has come for Nixon (I’m on 3 of 45).

This is an excellent biography of a powerful, yet insecure and anxious man, in period of great turmoil historical. Corruption and paranoia; this dense biography really has it all.

Todays notes highlights attitudes have changed since the Nixon days (or have they?! 😉)


📝 Abortion: Abortion encourage permissiveness, Nixon thought, but, “there are times when abortions are necessary…” “..you know, between a black and a white.” he told Colson.

“Or rape.” Colson said.

“Or rape..”, Nixon said, “..you know what I mean.”

📝 Nixon had theories of black inferiority and black prospects: “Most of them are basically out of the threes. I have the greatest affection for them but I know they won’t make it for next 500 years.”

📝 Stress and Self medication: “In the evening, if I have 2-3 drinks I feel good. Do you think that should be knocked off or reduced?” Nixon said to his doctor. Alcohol is a great stress reducer. I have tried it myself haha 😂

📝 “You know one of the reasons fashion has made women look so terrible is that the god damn designers hate women.” Nixon theorized, “Though now they are trying to get some more sexy things going again.”

“Hot pants.” Erlichman added.

“Jesus Christ.” Said Nixon.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I can see where the American publics distrust of government comes from. What a mess this period was! Watergate, the Pentagon papers and projects Moongoose 🤦‍♂️

My next president will probably be Kennedy or Lincoln.


Do you have any ambition reading projects?

Score: 4/5

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Thoughts on: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

I was not the only one that woke up confused with Donald Trump installed as president of the United States.

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This book has helped me understand how this could happen and why it came a such a surprise for a lot of people.

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The book is part memoir and part sociocultural analysis. J. D Vance tells the true story of what it like to live in community in decline. He grew up in a rust belt town in a family that struggled with addiction and abuse but escaped it. Seeing his own community from from an outside perspective made him write this book.

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The white working class is the one social group in America that has the darkest outlook on life. Learned helplessness, believing that ones choices don’t have any impact on ones life, is widespread and belief in upward mobility and opportunities to come is fading.

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I don’t have a certain key takeaway from this book, but it help understand where the messaging of Trumps presidential campaign was aimed at and how in some circles it came as such a surprise that he won.

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This is not a book about politics, but a very honest and personal story that attempts to understand reasons behind the recent decline in the “hillbilly” way of life. It doesn’t mention Trump but it makes it clear that there are a lot of desperate people in the US that feel overlooked and want to end the status quo no matter the price.

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4/5

“Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

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