20th Century Gothic: America's Nixon

20th Century Gothic: America's Nixon

20th Century Gothic: America's Nixon

20th Century Gothic: America's Nixon

Excerpt

There can be no definitive account of the life and times of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States. Because it is a tale of the 20th century, it must illustrate the principle of relativity; true to its own logic, any rendition of the truth about these matters can only be a version or interpretation, constructed from the limited perspective of the narrator and construed in terms of the vested interests she has in telling the tale.

This book is thus a version of a story that is bound to be told and retold as long as there are persons with an interest in describing the known, assumed, inferred, alleged, and implied facts and as long as there is an audience mesmerized by one of the most extraordinary figures of the century.

I have taken the facts of my story from the public record, from documentary sources open to anyone with a strong interest in tracing what is known about the nation, its government, and the people who hold office. I have supplemented this public record with observations in Southern California. 20th Century Gothic does not offer an expose of new facts, but rather an interpretation of familiar facts that suggest a particular pattern.

The pattern is gothic imagery—a vision of life in which good and evil are locked in mortal combat, winner take all. Theorists of strategic interaction might describe this as a "zero sum game." But to put it in that metaphoric framework is to divest the foregoing principle of its historic roots. It is not a new idea, born out of the realities of nuclear weaponry. It is an old idea, built right into the framework of Western thought. The larger questions this book addresses are the origins of gothic imagery, the interests such a world view serves . . .

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