The Young Nixon and His Rivals

Four California Republicans Eye the White House, 1946–1958

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About the Book

During his rise to national prominence, Richard Nixon as forced to confront the political ambitions of fellow Californians Earl Warren, William Knowland and Goodwin Knight, all of whom shared in his dream of becoming president. The simultaneous ascent of these four Republican politicians—dubbed the “four giants” by the regional and national media—led to intense personal rivalries which would affect presidential politics for more than a decade. This book traces Nixon’s relationships with each man from 1946, when he was the least well-known of the four, until 1958, when the experienced vice president facilitated the self-destruction of his two most dangerous rivals. It is the story of a bitter competition moderated by common identity and shared party loyalty, focusing on the personal qualities which made each of these politicians so formidable—and so flawed.

About the Author(s)

James Worthen writes about the impact of personality on political behavior. A former program manager at the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, he currently lives in Pismo Beach, California.

Bibliographic Details

James Worthen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4171-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      5

PART ONE: THE RIVALS IN 1946

1: Earl Warren: Going His Own Way      15

2: William Knowland: Smooth Ride to the Top      23

3: Goodwin Knight: Charisma to Spare      32

4: Richard Nixon: A New Kind of Politician      38

PART TWO: THE RIVALS IN WARREN’S SHADOW (1946–1952)

5: “Defending California from Goodie”      50

6: The Rivals and the Nixon-Douglas Race      60

PART THREE: THE RIVALS COLLIDE

7: The 1952 Republican Convention      78

PART FOUR: THE RIVALS UNDER EISENHOWER (1953–1958)

8: Knowland, Nixon and the President, 1953–1955      118

9: The Rivals and the 1956 Convention      136

10: The Big Switch of 1958 and the End of the Rivalry      168

Epilogue      189

Notes      205

Bibliography      221

Index      229

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “excellent history…a fascinating account…well worth the read”—Southern California Quarterly; “a fascinating tale of pettiness, jealousy and arrogance in which Nixon emerges at the finale as the strongest and smartest of his potential adversaries.”—Irwin Gellman, author of The Contender: Richard Nixon—The Congress Years, 1946–1952