The Anxious Years: America in the Vietnam-Watergate Era

Kim McQuaid, Author Basic Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-465-00389-1
Covering the period that began with the major influx of U.S. combat troops to Vietnam and ended with the pardon of Richard Nixon, McQuaid ( Big Business and Presidential Power ) attempts to put in perspective what were, in his words, ``unhappy events of a tragic time.'' He shuns the role of detached academician, expressing opinions with a near-aggressive directness. Nixon ``was a cold fish whose woodenness and humorlessness had caused problems for him for years,'' and American attitudes toward the Vietnamese were ``bovine misconceptions and cynical self-justification.'' Observations like these and stylistic excesses (`` . . . Robert Kennedy's life ebbed away in stainless steel surroundings, amid piles of institutional cutlery'') obscure the genuine insights McQuaid has to offer: the distinction between the anti-war movement and the New Left, for example, or an analysis of the Nixon administration's ``government by surprise,'' which the author claims was refined by the Reagan administration. Unfortunately, the reader may be more irritated by the method of delivery than enlightened by the message. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-465-00390-7
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