Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Fullby Conrad Black
From the late 1940s to the mid-1970s, Richard Nixon was a polarizing figure in American politics, admired for his intelligence, savvy, and strategic skill, and reviled for his shady manner and cutthroat tactics. Conrad Black, whose epic biography of FDR was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece, now separates the good in Nixonhis foreign initiatives, some of his domestic policies, and his firm political handfrom the sinister, in a book likely to generate enormous attention and controversy.
Black believes the hounding of Nixon from office was partly political retribution from a lifetime's worth of enemies and Nixon's misplaced loyalty to unworthy subordinates, and not clearly the consequence of crimes in which he participated. Conrad Black's own recent legal travails, though hardly comparable, have undoubtedly given him an unusual insight into the pressures faced by Nixon in his last two years as president and the first few years of his retirement.
Recently convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice, former Hollinger International chairman and newspaper magnate Black (Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom) is better positioned than most men to chronicle the power and disgrace experienced by Richard Nixon. Black is a versatile and thorough biographer who brings not only sympathy but eloquent clarity to his task. The result is a vibrant narrative of personal and political accomplishment that, though great and heroically achieved, was often marred by self-inflicted wounds springing from personal paranoia. Black is at his best portraying the many contradictions in Nixon's personal makeup and political history. The Nixon who most fascinates Black is the firebrand cold warrior who (in partnership with Henry Kissinger) went on to invent the notion of detente and eventually opened relations with China. As Black shows, Nixon's duality followed him into his postpresidential years. The tireless son of Quakers methodically sought after Watergate to rebuild his reputation as a statesman by issuing carefully crafted publications and granting strategically timed interviews. Black's superb volume, incorporating much new research, is an important and worthy addition to the literature. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Meet the Author
Conrad Black is the author the bestselling Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. He is the former chairman of Hollinger International Inc. and of the London Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and, with associates, was the controlling shareholder of those newspapers and the Spectator (UK), Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post, and many other publications. He has been a member of the British House of Lords since 2001. He is a member of the editorial board of the National Interest, and a trustee of the Nixon Center in Washington. Black divides his time between London and Toronto.
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This was an enjoyable read for anyone interested in presidential history. Reading Black's biography brought together many loose ends that I needed to connect from other books on Nixon. Like it or not, Nixon will go down as one of our great presidents who fell victim to his own lack of self esteem. He was truly an unlikely person to have been in politics, but as Black's biography points out, the world is th benefactor of much of Nixon's courage and competency. Nixon's focus on relations with the USSR, China, Vietnam, energy, etc. all benefited subsequent presidents and the nation. Watergate really was the manifestation of our nation's hypocrisy and proof of how we can be easily manipulated. We can't forgive Nixon for not doing the right things during Watergate and not having faith in the American people to forgive'his approval rating at the time of Watergate was at 60%+'but we must also admit that not all is what it seems to be in politics. Unlike Robert E. Lee, who was described as 'all that he appeared to be,' Nixon was not what he appeared to be. However, Nixon was always a fighter and like Lee he was able to grasp victory out of the apparent ashes of defeat. Unfortunatley many of these victories are lost but in time will be realized by future generations.
The moment I finished reading this book, the image of the late USA President came to me when he left office and waved to the crowd his last Good-bye. Nixon looked hesitant and undecided like a man relieved of an overwhelming burden. His Good-bye expressions were made indicating how far he had worn out of his Office; his eyes refused to meet the camera.
Perhaps what is quite revealing is that Nixon policies and behaviors were formulated to keep pace with `Détente `. There has been a wave of publicity unparalleled in contemporary American foreign policies relating to the appointment of Henry Kissinger in September 1973. Never before has a President and a Secretary of State had such interest by Newsmen and Biographers alike. Both names were associated with secret channels notably in Vietnam, Arab/Israeli conflict, and of course - Detente. I can safely say that Nixon, in particular, was less a friend of the media until Watergate blew its hurdles in the face of the world and the legend `'impeachment" was then born. What followed invoked a cauldron of aggressive and sympathetic editorials. Hostile comments were destructive in character and reflected envy.
I am convinced these 1000+ pages transpire feelings of persecution centered more upon the Office and less upon the Person whom many have loudly hated and secretly admired.
Mr. Conrad Black could picture the late President of the United States of America at his best moments slouched back in his chair, his long legs stretched out above the table in the deceptively thoughtful pose caricaturists had made famous in their media.
Well researched and good writing.
This is one great book. It fairly portrays the good, the bad and the tragic in Richard Nixon's extraordinary life. Conrad Black separates the myth from the reality and paints a very human portrait of a very complex man. There are no punches pulled here, Nixon's triumphs and failures are all in the book. The Watergate fiasco is here complete and you still wonder how a man so intelligent and politcally astute could become so intimately involved with such stupidity. In the end, whether you admire his politics or not you cannot but admire his courage and his love of family and country. I don't know if anyone will every really know Richard Nixon but this is the closest you'll get from reading a book. I highly recommend it
I read this book, and it was an engaging read. for those of us too young to have experienced the early years (most of us) the information about the early years is useful. so is the material about the nixon presidency, but here, the author seems to want to correct an impression. and perhaps what he writes will ultimately carry the day, but as someone who lived through the Watergate years, it is very hard to disregard what i remember about the times. Nixon may have been more right than we all guessed, but his inability to deal with the crisis in his own administration was a sign that his leadership skills were lacking, at least in one important area. by the end of the book, the reader will be exhausted and informed. but some (myself included) will put the book down and think, maybe the author was projecting his reactions to his own downfall onto his Nixon story.