Nixon in Hell: It's a Genre | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Nixon in Hell: It's a Genre


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Michael Dolan's current "Nixon in Hell" piece [April 29] was timely and excellent, but homage certainly must be paid to the creator of the genre, Philip Roth. In his pre-Watergate novel, Our Gang, Roth depicts Nixon in hell, not just contemplating his comeback but actually campaigning against Satan for the office of Prince of Darkness. Nixon argues persuasively that his unwavering record of hypocrisy, deceit, and evil distances himself from the cryptic and ofttimes suspect behavior of his adversary, Satan. While many critics at the time dismissed Roth's work as light satire and perhaps a little loony, history has proved its brilliance.

Today as the revisionists are busy at work canonizing Richard Nixon, Dolan's "Nixon in Hell" stands alongside Philip Roth's work as a wonderful companion piece and testimony to the character of our former president, Tricky Dick Nixon.

Edward S. Margolis


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