One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon

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9781250092328: One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon
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A shocking and riveting look at one of the most dramatic and disastrous presidencies in US history, from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner.

Based largely on documents declassified only in the last few years, One Man Against the World paints a devastating portrait of a tortured yet brilliant man who led the country largely according to a deep-seated insecurity and distrust of not only his cabinet and congress, but the American population at large. In riveting, tick-tock prose, Weiner illuminates how the Vietnam War and the Watergate controversy that brought about Nixon's demise were inextricably linked. From the hail of garbage and curses that awaited Nixon upon his arrival at the White House, when he became the president of a nation as deeply divided as it had been since the end of the Civil War, to the unprecedented action Nixon took against American citizens, who he considered as traitorous as the army of North Vietnam, to the infamous break-in and the tapes that bear remarkable record of the most intimate and damning conversations between the president and his confidantes, Weiner narrates the history of Nixon's anguished presidency in fascinating and fresh detail.

A crucial new look at the greatest political suicide in history, One Man Against the World leaves us not only with new insight into this tumultuous period, but also into the motivations and demons of an American president who saw enemies everywhere, and, thinking the world was against him, undermined the foundations of the country he had hoped to lead.

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From the Author:

Richard Nixon has fascinated me for more than forty years. I thought I knew something about the man and his presidency when I began this work. Then I discovered a trove of top-secret documents from the Nixon years had been declassified in recent years. I dug into them with a growing excitement. I felt like a treasure-hunter unearthing the palace of a lost empire.
Tens of thousands of files from his White House, his National Security Council, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were newly unsealed. So were minutes of the secret White House committees that controlled military and intelligenceoperations under Nixon. The transcripts of federal grand jury testimony by Nixon himself, the only president ever compelled to answer questions under oath in a criminal case, were now public records. Hundreds of hours of his infamous tapes finally came out in 2013 and 2014, along with previously classified entries in the daily diary of Nixon's closest aide, H. R. Haldeman. Together, they ensure that every quotation and each citation in this book is on the record: no blind quotes, no unnamed sources, and no hearsay statements.What compelled him to commit crimes-- secretly collecting campaign cash from foreign dictators and aspiring American ambassadors, wiretapping his loyal aides and distinguished diplomats as if they were foreign spies-- and then conspire to conceal them? Why did he drive the nation deeper into Vietnam, at a cost of tens of thousands of American lives, only to accept a settlement no better than the one he could have signed on his first day in office? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and his secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars seeking? Why did Nixon tape-record the evidence that proved his complicity in the cover-up? Why did he undertake the unconstitutional actions that led to his resignation?Now we have answers, straight from the president and his closest aides. The story is richer and stranger than we ever knew. For those who lived under Nixon, it is worse than you may recollect. For those too young to recall, it is worse than you can imagine. 

From the Inside Flap:

Here is the first history of President Richard Nixon with all of his secret tapes and documents, many declassified over the past two years. They let the reader listen in as Nixon, gripped by rage and insomnia and alcohol, makes disastrous decisions that brought death to American soldiers, destruction in Vietnam, and doom to his presidency.Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner presents a devastating portrait of a tortured and tormented man. In gripping prose, the author show how, in Nixon's mind, the conflict in Vietnam and the crimes of Watergate were one war, fought on two fronts.A brilliant politician, Nixon rose by force of will from a crowded shack in rural California to the White House. But, as President, Nixon trusted no one -- not his cabinet, not his closest advisers,not the American people -- and that was the beginning of his downfall. He saw enemies everywhere and, standing alone, took up arms against them.Nixon saw himself not only as the leader of the free world but "the world leader." Yet he was addicted to the gutter politics that ruined him. His political suicide has no equal in American history. That was his tragedy to bear. 

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