In Nixon’s own words (review)

In Nixon’s own words (review)
In Nixon’s own words (review)
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Between 2011 and 2014, dozens of tapes and thousands of pages of transcripts of direct recordings from former President Richard Nixon’s infamous White House taping system were at long last unsealed. The results make up much of the substance in this new book by investigative journalist Tim Weiner.

 

The book is a fast read and shows that whatever you thought of Richard Nixon as President, it’s much worse. Weiner does the work of a good historian and journalist by weaving in quotes from the transcripts and tapes into the larger historical narrative of the Vietnam and Watergate era; giving readers a true understanding of the disaster that unfolded in the White House, while Americans began to turn against the war.

 

All the characters that we’ve been hearing about for decades, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, Rusk, Kissinger, Mitchell, come alive as Weiner sets the stage for each of the incriminating conversations that landed so many people in jail and led to the near decimation of our constitutional democracy.

 

At times the book reads like a tragic novel. Especially where we can easily visualize Nixon, alone and drunk, making decisions that led to the horrific deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Vietnam, Cambodia and Loas.

 

Watergate, explained in great detail here, was Nixon’s undoing. But his real legacy, as outlined in this excellent, if disturbing book, is the genocidal horror he unleashed in Southeast Asia. It’s a great book for understanding geopolitics in complicated times and the need for a level-headed leader.

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