Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency

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9780060927097: Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency

More than one hundred candid interviews with associates, advisors, critics, cabinet members, observers, and opponents provide an intimate portrait of Richard Nixon, his presidency, domestic and foreign policies, campaign, and Watergate. National ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

In the manner of their oral history of JFK's administration (Let Us Begin Anew, 1993), the Strobers present a vast miscellany of musings about Nixon and his administration by insiders, Cabinet members, and other contemporaries. Readers benumbed by the spate of books marking the 20th anniversary of Nixon's resignation will find the Strobers' undidactic approach to history refreshing. Asking, but never definitively answering, provocative questions such as ``Who ordered the Watergate break-in?'' and ``Why didn't Nixon destroy the tapes?,'' the Strobers simply allow Nixon administration principals, Watergate figures, and Nixon opponents to speak about the man and his turbulent presidency. The interviewees reflect on Nixon's election, his domestic and foreign policy achievements, the Pentagon Papers, the 1972 campaign, the second administration, and, especially, the Watergate scandal, Nixon's resignation, and his post-Watergate rehabilitation. For all their immediacy and apparent candor, however, the reminiscences do not shed new light on these subjects. For example, in a chapter asking why the Watergate break- ins were ordered, all of the interviewees, including John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy, profess ignorance or offer unsatisfying speculations, and Gerald Ford denies having considered pardoning Nixon prior to his resignation, although Ford acknowledges that the issue came up in a pre-resignation meeting with Alexander Haig. In conclusion, the interviewees speculate on Nixon in the post-Watergate era and on his legacy, with views ranging predictably from those, like former Nixon counsel Leonard Garment, who feel Nixon's policy achievements outweighed his failures, to those who, like Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, consider Nixon irrevocably tainted by Watergate: ``I think that Watergate stains his whole presidency. You can't avoid it; you can't write an obit about Willie Sutton and not talk about robbing a bank.'' Though hardly groundbreaking, this collection of interviews presents an engrossing portrait of Nixon and his troubled administrations. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Following the recent flood of Nixon memoirs, biographies, exposes, and so forth (e.g., Jonathan Aitken's Nixon: A Life, LJ 5/1/94; Fred Emery's Watergate, LJ 6/1/94; and Marvin Kalb's The Nixon Memo, LJ 9/15/94), this oral history of the Nixon presidency makes several contributions that render it attractive to libraries and readers who want participant-observer perspectives. The authors are collaborating for a second time after the success of their first oral history, Let Us Begin Anew (LJ 3/15/93), which examined John F. Kennedy. Virtually all of the key participants in Watergate are interviewed either in person or by phone. Two very valuable appendixes list those interviewed, their roles, and what they are doing today. The authors have also provided keen insights from informed journalists and foreign observers from the Nixon years. Chapters are organized in a quasi-historical perspective, but the interviews are restructured according to topics (the 1968 election, the Pentagon Papers and the plumbers, and the post-Watergate rehabilitation of the Nixon image), which should be most helpful to researchers who have neither time nor money to visit the Nixon library at Yorba Linda.
Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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