NIXONLAND: EBOOKS OF ALTIMIRA

A vastly entertaining and meticulously documented narrative detailing the fear and loathing behind the Bush-bashing bumper sticker from a couple years back: “I never thought I’d miss Nixon…

Why do the most advanced, “enhanced” ebooks already seem prehistoric? Nixonland accomplishes the crudest integration of prose with CBS news footage, so Perlstein’s roaring descriptions of Kennedy-Nixon debates lets you click on the actual clip and watch the sweat drip from the fabled Milhaus brow. At the same time, it suggest all kinds of new possibilities: in five years, this “enhanced” ebook will look like a cave drawing. It allows multiple bookmarks and highlighting, and then keeps track of your highlights so you don’t have to page through to find them later. This feature is counter-intuitively listed beneath the bookmarks features in the Table of Contents.

But it also makes you want more. Here’s three new features the thinking reader wants from new edition ebooks:

1. Footnote integration: come on, this is just lame not to be here already. Let us click on a footnote (or embedded reference) and have the note come up on top of the text for handy reference.

2. Allow for “copy text” to the clipboard, so you can take a favorite passage and send it to a friend, or put it in your OWN write-up of the book. (Yes, this will definitely lead to people copying entire manuscripts, repackaging them and selling them for profit.)

3. No index? Are you serious? No index? Only slightly absolved by robust search function. No index? Can that editor.

Some Favorite Perlstein passages…

Another reason widespread campus protests were not “elitist,” random, or somehow unjustified: “General Lewis B. Hershey, director of the nation’s Selective Service System, announced that universities must hand over class ranks to draft boards so they could cancel the deferments of college students with bad grades…” p. 305.

Unidentified news reporters, on the New York City blackout of 1965: “The anti-Vietnam demonstrators have pulled something off” p. 306

Nixon got his campaign slogan from AFL-CIO president George Meany, “the vast, silent majority in the nation” p. 787.

“To the young American’s who’d been dancing in the streets on March 31, having forced the architect of an illegal and unjust war out of politics fair and square, the sight of the ‘old politics’ Democratic Establishment falling in behind Humphrey was like watching a salamander grow a new tail when they thought they had killed off the beast” p. 1001.

And finally, the pearly quote Mayor Daley mouthed towards Senator Ribicoff on prime-time television, the money shot, the invisible curse where Nixon saw his opening, Daley’s mouth wrapped around a hatred so abrupt and impregnable it needs no articulation, except for how juicy is looks in print after almost half a century: “Fuck you, you Jew son of a btich, you lousy motherfucker, go home,” p. 1216.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditEmail this to someone