Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, 1950

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The year 1950 was a time of absolute trauma for America. The Korean War began, and the Communists completed their takeover of China. The Rosenbergs were arrested as spies for the Soviet Union, which had recently tested its first atomic bomb. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Hollywood blacklist were making headlines across the country. And it was a year that produced one of the most notorious, and influential, election contests in America's history.

In California, two prominent members of Congress, Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas, squared off for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He was a dynamic thirty-seven-year-old lawyer of moderate means who had just helped send Alger Hiss to jail; she was a rich and beautiful former actress turned progressive Democrat--a pioneering female activist in Congress who attempted to become one of the first women elected to the Senate. In a climate of Red hysteria, Nixon's chief election strategy was smearing Douglas as a Communist sympathizer. She was, he said, "pink right down to her underwear."

The acclaimed "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady"--first published by Random House, now available in this new edition--and also for the first time as an e-book--is the first book to present a full-length portrait of the campaign widely remembered as one of the dirtiest ever, and pivotal in the history of sexual politics. Greg Mitchell draws on a wealth of original documents--including shocking, never-before-published letters and memos by Nixon and his tenacious campaign manager Murray Chotiner--that he discovered at the National Archives. In an engrossing blow-by-blow narrative featuring Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, Cecil B. De Mille, Melvyn Douglas (the candidate's husband), Harry Truman, and future presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan, Mitchell vividly captures the sensational 1950 race: the cunning tactics of a young Nixon that first earned him the indelible nickname "Tricky Dick"; the challenges and criticism Douglas faced as a woman in politics; and the paralyzing fear that marked the dawn of the McCarthy era and blacklisting in the movies, television, and radio.

The book is full of startling anecdotes--for example, JFK backing Nixon in the race-- humorous incidents, and newly uncovered "dirty tricks." Mitchell was the first writer allowed to probe Nixon's papers on this campaign.


A New York Times "Notable Book."

"A fair, compelling, and convincing account of a dark period of American history." -- The Economist

"An instructive reminder of how bad things really were in the good old days." -- The Washington Post

"A history of politics most slimy that is also a page-turner." -- Entertainment Weekly (Rating: A-)

"An extremely readable primer on a pivotal episode in Nixon's rise to national prominence and power." -- Los Angeles Times

"Mitchell is skilled at political storytelling." -- The Boston Globe

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