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President Nixon


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About the Author

Richard Reeves is a syndicated columnist and teaches at the Annenburg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. His most recent book is PRESIDENT KENNEDY: PROFILE OF POWER, now considered the authoratitive volume on that president. He lives in Washington D.C. and New York.


"This would be an easy job if you didn't have to deal with people," President Nixon noted on more than one occasion. Reeves (President Kennedy: Profile in Power, LJ 9/15/93) dissects the Nixon presidency by investigating selected, important dates of his administration, which reveal him to be more of a crises fomenter than manager. Nixon, according to Reeves, isolated himself like no other president and used his gatekeepers H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to circumvent the Cabinet, Congress, and the public. The author makes effective use of Nixon's memos and diary, newly declassified records, and entries from the Haldeman Diary, some of which appear here for the first time, to present an unflattering portrait of a short-tempered, foul-mouthed president obsessed with his reelection and blaming others, often Jews, for problems of his own making. The book concludes when he stopped keeping a diary, in April 1973. Among the most fascinating matters are Nixon's triumphant 1972 opening of China, including meeting with a dying Chairman Mao, and the diplomatic infighting between Secretary of State William Rogers and the tantrum-throwing Kissinger. Reeves skillfully employees the same day-to-day approach that worked so well in his study of Kennedy. Highly recommended for most public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/01.] Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Rick Perlstein The New York Times Book Review Reeves [is] a researcher of high standards and a writer whose paragraphs can read like delicacies....It's hard to think of a better introduction to [Nixon] and his presidency.
Walter Isaacson Author of Kissinger: A Biography Reeves has once again succeeded in making a presidency come alive....[Captures] Nixon's brooding and lonely personality as well as his subtle mind. With a wealth of color about key days and decisions, the book shows what it is really like to be president.
Bob Woodward Author of Maestro A wealth of information that makes the absolute convincing case that Nixon was not just alone but isolated, walled off, and even lonely. May we never again have a president so cut off from the rest of humanity. It is a haunting story that no reader will ever forget.
David Maraniss Author of When Pride Still Mattered [Places] the reader inside the lonely world of President Nixon, day after day, like no one has before....There are hundreds of surprises here for even the most obsessed Nixon watchers.

Syndicated columnist and biographer Reeves (President Kennedy: Profile of Power) presents an authoritative worm's-eye view of Nixon's insular presidency, wherein even secretaries of state and defense were out of the loop on foreign policy, and Nixon himself couldn't be bothered with domestic policy except as a chess match for power. A tightly chronological abundance of details reveals how secrets, lies and isolation pervaded Nixon's administration. He lied even about things as trivial as his work habits; wrote memos to his family instructing them on how to portray him as a warm family man; preferred dealing only with Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Kissinger, while hiding from and distrusting most of his staff long before Watergate; and extended his enmity for "the establishment" to include business leaders, congressional Republicans and the Pentagon, even accusing the latter of conspiring against his desire to crush North Vietnam. Reeves impressively demonstrates that Watergate grew directly and naturally out of the fundamental characteristics of Nixon's administration. Unfortunately, dogged adherence to his avowed aim "to reconstruct the Nixon presidency as it looked from the center" obliterates much-needed context and reflection. For example, Reeves never critically questions Nixon's evidently cynical exploitations of racism, often recast in neutral terms, nor considers the subsequent historical consequences. He alludes to Nixon's fascination with Disraeli, but never explores how this affected his outlook. This richly detailed miniature, crabbed and claustrophobic, leaves undone the task of placing its subject in perspective. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Reeves is highly respected, as evidenced by the sale of first serial rights to Newsweek (on sale Aug. 27) and a booking on the Today Show (Sept. 24). He will do an eight-city tour. Despite its flaws, this inside look at Nixon will fascinate many and, with a first printing of 65,000, should do very well sales-wise. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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