David Greenberg, Asst. Professor Rutgers University




a Nixon's Shadow
  Presidential Doodles
  Calvin Coolidge

Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic



  The American Presidency
  Media and Government
  Journalism, Democracy, and the Public Sphere
  The Holocaust in American Culture
  Cold War Culture
  Seminar in Recent U.S. History
  History of the News Media
  Seminar in Recent U.S. History.






Nixon's Shadow:
The History of an Image

by David Greenberg

W.W. Norton
2004 / paperback /
ISBN 0-393-32616-0
2003 / hardcover /
ISBN 0-393-04896-9
6" x 8" / 496 pages / History

Washington Monthly Political Book Award
American Journalism Historians Book Award
Columbia University Bancroft Dissertation Prize

Nixon's Shadow hardcover

Buy Nixon's Shadow from Amazon

Buy Nixon's Shadow from W.W. Norton


To his conservative supporters in the 1940s, he was a populist everyman. To liberal intellectuals of the 1950s he was Tricky Dick, a devious manipulator. To 1960s radicals, a shadowy conspirator. To Washington reporters, a clever spin doctor. Middle Americans, a scapegoat. To psychologists, a paranoiac. To foreign-policy hands, a statesman. And to recent historians, an unlikely liberal.

Drawing on new archival research as well as television, movies, cartoons, and songs, Nixon's Shadow rediscovers these competing views of our most controversial president and shows how each took hold in the American imagination.

Uniquely image-conscious among postwar politicians, Richard Nixon pioneered new methods of shaping his political persona. Often he could be staggeringly successful, as with his 1952 "Checkers" speech or his 1972 trip to China. But just as often his ploys backfired, revealing how thoroughly his politics--and all modern politics--relies on manipulation. After Nixon's half-century on the national stage--and after the colorful parade of "New Nixons" described herein--it has become impossible to discuss politics without asking the questions he brought to the fore: What is the politician's "real" character? What image is he trying to project?

More than just what Nixon did, this book reveals what Nixon meant.

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"A brilliant book full of fresh insight and analysis by one of the most original young minds among professional historians. The first serious and comprehensive look at Nixon by a writer of the new generation, Nixon's Shadow is thoroughly fair-minded and yet critical. Under the scholarly microscope Nixon again fails to conceal his self-inflicted wounds."
—Bob Woodward

"I am hard pressed to think of a book on politics as bracing and original as this one."
—Jeff Greenfield, Washington Monthly

"Groundbreaking....A landmark in Nixon scholarship."
—Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

"[Greenberg] goes boldly where few men (and fewer liberal historians) have gone before."
—Frank Gannon, Wall Street Journal

"A richly informed, attractively written history."
Jonathan Schell, Washington Post Book World

"Enthralling, compulsively readable."
—Jay Parini, The Guardian

"A penetrating analysis of how the president's legacy has altered American politics irrevocably."
—Jonathan Keats, Christian Science Monitor

Cold Fusion: History Suggests an Obama-Clinton Ticket Could Work,” Slate, May 22, 2008 .

Tribe of Scribes.” Review of White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters , by Robert Schlesinger, Washington Post , May 18, 2008 .

The Age of Reagan.” Review of The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008, by Sean Wilentz, Los Angeles Times , May 18, 2008 .

Double Negative: The Return of Doughface Liberalism,” The New Republic, April 9, 2008 .

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates Unplugged.” Review of Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America , by Allen C. Guelzo, Slate, April 7, 2008 .

The Long Goodbye: It’s Too Early to Talk About Hillary’s Withdrawal,” Slate, March 5, 2008 .

Zealots of Our Time.” Review of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, by Jacob Heilbrunn, American Prospect, March, 2008.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Speeches,” New York Times, February 24, 2008 .

Memo to Obama Fans: The Clinton Presidency Was Not a Failure,” Slate, February 12, 2008 .

R, North Carolina.” Review of Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism, by William A. Link, New York Times Book Review, February 10, 2008 .

Why Obamamania? Because He Runs as the Great White Hope,” Washington Post , January 13, 2008 .



“Media and Conservative Politics in Postwar America : A Response,” Policy History Conference , St. Louis University , St. Louis , MO , May 30, 2008 .

“Red vs. Blue—or Purple: Is America Really Polarized?,” at the symposium, “ The Hyperpartisan Era in Washington: Can Federal Bipartisanship Be Revived?” The New School, New York , NY , May 28, 2008 .

“Paths out of Dixie: A Response,” comment at the 20 th Century Politics and Society Workshop, Columbia University, New York, NY, April 17, 2008.

“George W. Bush and the War on Expertise,” for the conference “The Presidency of George W. Bush in Historical Perspective,” Princeton University , Princeton , NJ , April 12, 2008 .

“The Spinning of the President, 2008,” keynote address at the conference “Freedom of the Press,” St. Peter’s College, Jersey City , NJ , April 10, 2008 .

“Learning from Presidential Debates,” for the conference “The 2008 Road to the White House,” Hofstra University , Hempstead , NY , April 3, 2008 .

“History on the Internet,” talk at the conference “Comparing, Editing, Translating: Periodicals and Interdisciplinarity Today,” Institute for Comparative Literature and Society Annual Conference , Columbia University, New York, NY, March 28, 2008.

Calvin Coolidge’s Legacy,” National Archives, Washington DC , February 13, 2008 .

History in 1200 Words: Dumbing Down vs. Smarting Up,” American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC , January 6, 2008 .

Redefining Liberalism in the 1980s,” American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC , January 4, 2008 .


Also of Interest

Nixon & Watergate
Nixon at American President
Nixon Materials Project - College Park, MD
Nixon Post-Presidential Interviews (with Frank Gannon)
Nixon’s Shadow
Watergate Decade
Watergate Files (Gerald R. Ford Library)
Watergate Info
Watergate - Washington Post site
Woodward & Bernstein Papers