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It all started with some businessmen bankrolling Richard Nixon to become a "salesman against socialization.†? But in this precursor to current campaign finance scandals, Nixon had some explaining to do to keep his place on Dwight Eisenhower's Republican ticket, so he took to the airwaves. The "Checkers†? speech saved and bolstered Nixon's political career and set the tone for the 1952 campaign. Just Plain Dick is political history and more. It's the story of a young man nearing a nervous breakdown and staging a political comeback. While the narrative focuses tightly, almost cinematically, on the 1952 election cycle-from the spring primary season to the summer conventions, then to the allegations against Nixon through to the speech in September, and finally the election in November-Mattson also provides a broad-stroke depiction of American politics and culture during the Cold War.

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