Nixon Rebuilds

From Defeat to the White House, 1962–1968


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About the Book

Richard Nixon’s election to the presidency in 1968 was an improbable vindication for a man branded as a loser after unsuccessful presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Yet during the 1966 mid-term elections, he emerged as the critical figure who united the fractured Republican Party after the disastrous 1964 presidential election. Along the way, he sensed how large swaths of the American public were moving against the Democrats, and how a candidate could take advantage of this. Filling an important gap in the Nixon literature, this book explores his dynamic reinvention during the dark days of the mid-sixties—a period that mirrored his 1946–1952 rise from obscure congressman to Eisenhower’s vice-president. Beginning with his 1962 press conference after losing the California governor’s election and ending with his 1968 presidential victory, a far more human Nixon is revealed, unlike the familiar caricature of the shady politician and orchestrator of Watergate who would do anything to win.

About the Author(s)

John David Briley is an associate professor of political science at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

John David Briley
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8388-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4306-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Abstract x
Prologue 1
1. Obituary or Rebirth? 7
2. All the Way with LBJ? 21
3. Picking Up the Pieces 32
4. Rebuilding the Coalition 44
5. Had Enuff? 63
6. Let ’Em Chew on Him for a Little While 83
7. The World Tour 96
8. It Is Your Destiny 115
9. This Is Not My Last Press Conference 137
10. Time to Get on That Train 149
11. Tonight, I See a Child 168
12. Now You’re Gonna Take My Dog 187
13. ­Nut-Cutting Time 204
14. Finale 224
Chapter Notes 235
Bibliography 253
Index 257

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Professor Briley has done an outstanding job of researching and documenting an area that has received far too little academic attention: The nature and impact of Richard Nixon’s wilderness years on his subsequent presidency.”—Geoff Shepard, author of The Real Watergate Scandal

• “David Briley forcefully argues that what Richard Nixon called his Wilderness Years scholars have fundamentally ignored. Through multi-archival research, for the first time, Briley offers a convincing account of how at the end of 1962, Nixon resurrected himself from a loser to a victor in the 1968 presidential election.”—Irwin F. Gellman, author of The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961