The Time of Illusion

A good piece for Political Science


“The Time of Illusion” (1975) by Jonathan Schell is an attempt to make sense of the Nixon years in the US, 1969 to 1974, right after the Watergate scandal brought out the truth about President Nixon. Schell wrote for the New Yorker in those years.

The Nixon years, as Schell presents them, were like an unfaithful marriage: at first you did not know, then you did not want to know, then the ugly truth came crashing down on you, wave after wave.

Newspapers circa 1972:

“The footnotes of current American history were in the headlines, and the chapter headings were buried in the back pages or were absent altogether.”

What you saw in the news was theatre, play-acting, a show, a lie. Nixon went so far as to send himself telegrams of congratulations and write the lines that loyal Republicans were to mouth on television. Pat Buchanan was…

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