A veteran White House reporter reveals our 37th president was even more sinister and haunted than we knew.
While Richard Nixon resigned from the White House as our most disgraced president, the American people never knew the full extent of his demons, paranoia, prejudices, hatreds, and chicanery. Calling on his work in covering Nixon in the White House, as well as scores of interviews and invaluable, newly declassified documents and recordings, reporter Don Fulsom sheds new light on "Tricky Dick" by revealing his violent streaks, paranoia, mob ties, and even treasonous activity in exchange for political gain. Nixon's Darkest Secrets reveals that the Watergate scandal was only half the story, and sheds new light on our most devious president.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
DON FULSOM is a longtime White House reporter and former United Press International Washington bureau chief who has covered presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. He is an adjunct professor at American University in Washington D.C., where he teaches "Watergate: A Constitutional Crisis."
Read an Excerpt
Nixon's Darkest SecretsThe Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President
By Don Fulsom
Thomas Dunne BooksCopyright © 2012 Don Fulsom
All right reserved.
TREASON WINS THE WHITE HOUSE
Treason is the highest crime an American can commit against his country. And that’s what one president accused his successor of committing.
Richard Nixon’s secret sabotaging of President Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 Paris peace talks—much more than Watergate or his longtime ties to the Mafia—should stand as our thirty-seventh president’s greatest sin. There are no better words than “despicable” and “sordid” and “treason” (used by LBJ in this context) to describe Nixon’s betrayal of his country for his own political gain. In a newly released Johnson phone call to Senator Everett Dirksen, just before the November 1968 election, the Senate GOP leader readily agreed with the president’s treason conclusion about Nixon, and pledged to call his party’s presidential candidate on the carpet on it.
Johnson himself—a number of times earlier, and later—scolded Nixon, who repeatedly denied knowing anything about the meddling with the Paris negotiations and pledged to do nothing to hurt President Johnson’s efforts to end the war. (When the phone was hung up after at least one of these lies, Nixon and his cohorts reportedly burst into loud and sustained laughter.)1
The newest LBJ Library tapes tell the dramatic story of how Johnson blew his stack and nearly the whistle on Nixon’s treachery: On November 2, 1968, three days before the election, Johnson let Dirksen peek at Johnson’s self-described “hole cards” in his unbeatable poker hand in a high-stakes showdown against Nixon.2
Alluding to NSA intercepts, FBI wiretaps and CIA bugs, Johnson says on the tape that he knows—because South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu’s offices are bugged—that China Lobby stalwart Anna Chennault went to Thieu on Nixon’s behalf and told Thieu he should hold out on the peace talks until after the election. “They oughtn’t be doing this,” Johnson tells Dirksen. “This is treason.” Dirksen agrees.
Johnson says he doesn’t want to go public with the information, but he wants Nixon to know that he is aware of what Nixon’s doing and to whom he and his emissaries have been talking. “They’re contacting a foreign power in the middle of a war!” Johnson tells Dirksen on the tape. “It’s a damn bad mistake. You just tell them that their people are messing around in this thing, and if they don’t want it on the front pages, they better quit it.” Dirksen vows on the tape to get in touch with Nixon and call him off.
* * *
Later, as president in mid-1971, Nixon got word—apparently from his chief of staff, H. R. “Bob” Haldeman—that President Johnson’s Vietnam files were being housed at the left-leaning Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. These files included not only the decision behind LBJ’s pre-election bombing halt (which Nixon erroneously thought was timed to help Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey), but also evidence of Nixon’s interference with the Paris peace talks. “You can blackmail Johnson on this stuff,” Haldeman excitedly asserted about the bombing halt material.3 (Haldeman thought that perhaps Johnson could be blackmailed into supporting Nixon’s Vietnam policies.) Nixon biographer Anthony Summers noted that Nixon had another reason for wanting to get the Vietnam files. “[Nixon] had actively worked to sabotage the 1968 peace talks, and the record in question might actually prove more damaging to him than to President Johnson.”4
So President Richard Nixon endorsed a wild scheme, shockingly wild: the firebombing of, and theft of files from, the Brookings Institution in Washington. The documents were well worth the risk, he figured, if they held evidence of his deliberate subversion. He also thought they might offer proof that his own 1968 campaign plane was bugged; it wasn’t. Without specifically mentioning his Brookings break-in demand in his 1975 memoirs, Nixon did admit he had told his staff he wanted the Vietnam files he believed were in Brookings’ possession delivered to him, “even if it meant having to get it surreptitiously.”5
The Brookings plan was bizarre. “Masterminded” by G. Gordon Liddy of later Watergate infamy, it would have featured an old fire truck repainted with the markings of the District of Columbia’s Fire Department. Operated by a group of pro-Nixon Cubans from Miami, disguised as a fire crew, the fake fire engine would make its way to Brookings. While ostensibly there to battle their own Molotov cocktail–caused blaze, the break-in experts from Miami would enter the building, crack open the vaults, make off with the Vietnam files, and then quickly ditch the slow-moving fire engine—after transferring the files and themselves to a nearby waiting van.
In his autobiography, Liddy surmised that a successful Brookings caper might have prompted some guessing games about the identities of the miscreants “in the liberal press,” but that “because nothing could be proved, the matter would lapse into the unsolved-mystery category.”6
John Dean, President Nixon’s White House lawyer, had a far more sensible take on the contemplated firebombing. Dean claims he was able to shut down the operation (the “joint” had already been “cased”—in Dean’s words—by Nixon agents, who were turned away by an alert security guard). Dean convinced presidential aide John Ehrlichman that if anyone died in the blast, it would be a capital crime that might be traced back to the White House. Ehrlichman later acknowledged calling off the plan—and confirmed that Nixon knew of it in advance.7
Just think: Had Dean not prevailed with Ehrlichman, had this break-in actually occurred, had it involved a death, and had it been botched as badly as Watergate, then murder and domestic terrorism might well have been added to Nixon’s list of impeachable offenses.
In addition, just ordering the Brookings break-in “would be an impeachable offense,” according to Terry Lenzner, who was a top official on the Senate Watergate committee. “It is the President ordering a felony to obtain information.”8
And don’t forget treason—had DC police recovered the 1968 campaign files from the phony firemen or fake DC fire engine.
What would have been found? Piles of evidence of Nixon’s treachery, including this “smoking gun” intercept of a back-door message from Nixon to Thieu: “Hold on. We’re gonna win.” The message was plain, according to Nixon’s go-between Anna Chennault: “Stay away from the peace talks.”9
In 1968, Vietnam was the No. 1 issue in the campaign. Nixon was generally viewed as the dovish candidate because he promised to implement a secret plan to “end the war and win the peace.” Humphrey was viewed as a candidate who would continue President Lyndon Johnson’s unpopular hawkish war policies.
LBJ had dropped out of the presidential race to devote the remainder of his tenure to peace in Vietnam. He’d hoped, since quitting, to bring the fighting to an end through three-way (Hanoi, Saigon and Washington) peace talks in Paris. Nixon feared that if Johnson succeeded, Humphrey would win the November election. It was the kind of “October Surprise” the paranoid GOP nominee feared most.
Shortly before voters went to the polls, to ensure that Hanoi would attend the Paris talks, President Johnson announced a halt in the U.S. bombing of the North. Nixon learned of this important development through Henry Kissinger—an informal LBJ advisor to the peace talks. In Nixonland, Rick Perlstein observes, “The Johnson team trusted [Kissinger] implicitly. They shouldn’t have. Kissinger was a double agent feeding the intelligence to Nixon that let him scotch the peace deal before the election.”10
Johnson’s bombing halt announcement, just days before the election, briefly gave Humphrey a slight lead in public-opinion polls—though he would go on to lose to Nixon by about 500,000 votes.
All during the 1968 campaign, working through a separate secret agent—one even more secret than Kissinger—Nixon had been telling South Vietnam’s president Nguyen Van Thieu to boycott any LBJ-sponsored talks and hold out for a better deal under a Nixon presidency. Thieu obliged, wrecking the talks and any chance for peace during the final months of Johnson’s presidency.
Nixon’s back channel in his contacts with Thieu was Anna Chennault, aka the Dragon Lady. The gorgeous forty-three-year-old widow of World War II U.S. “Flying Tigers” hero General Claire Chennault had moved from Taiwan to the United States in 1960. Anna was co-chairman of Women for Nixon-Agnew.
At Nixon’s request, Chennault established contacts with the South Vietnamese ambassador to Washington, Bui Diem. In July 1968, Chennault introduced the ambassador to the GOP presidential hopeful at a hush-hush meeting at Nixon’s New York apartment. According to Chennault, Nixon told Bui Diem he could “rest assured” that, if elected, “I will have a meeting with [Thieu] and find a solution to winning the war.” He added that Chennault was to be “the only contact between myself and your government.”11
Anna Chennault also had some dealings, face-to-face and on the telephone, with Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell. Unless he was speaking on a secure phone line, however, Mitchell kept most of his thoughts to himself. He strongly suspected that government agents were monitoring the Dragon Lady’s activities.
Mitchell’s suspicions were spot-on. And a furious Johnson didn’t hesitate to let Mitchell’s boss himself know what he knew about Nixon’s underhanded antipeace maneuverings.
On a number of occasions, President Johnson talked directly to Nixon about the sabotage. In one conversation, after filling Nixon in on his campaign’s dealings with Thieu, LBJ added, “I’m not trying to trick you.” It was a not-so-subtle dig at Nixon for his well-deserved nickname: Tricky Dick. Of course, Nixon denied knowing anything about the sabotage. And he reassured the president he would do nothing to undercut the peace process.
Even after the election, Johnson kept pressing the issue with Nixon:
LBJ: These people [the South Vietnamese] are proceeding on the assumption that folks close to you tell them to do nothing ’til January the 20th.
Nixon: I know who they’re talking about too. Is it John Tower?
LBJ: Well, he’s one of several. Miss Chennault is very much in there.
Nixon: Well, she’s very close to John Tower.
In this discussion, Nixon not only threw loyal Texas Republican senator John Tower under the bus, but he also stressed the words “very close.” What Nixon was apparently alluding to was a not-so-secret affair Senator Tower was having with the fabled Dragon Lady.
The supposed lovers were both right-wingers and heavy partiers on the Washington cocktail circuit. Tower had replaced Lyndon Johnson in the Senate. The two men were bitter enemies. So Nixon probably had that in mind when he ratted out Tower to LBJ.
A former Tower associate says the senator, long after his second failed marriage, freely admitted having a long-term liaison with Chennault. Tower was very fond of Anna, and, the source added, after they broke up, Tower claimed Chennault went on to “a torrid fling” with Thomas McIntyre, a left-wing Democratic Senator from New Hampshire and a “heavy foreign policy hitter.”
Perhaps Chennault became soured on Republicans after Nixon quickly proceeded to betray her and the South Vietnamese government. Her “boss,” as she referred to Nixon in her clandestine communications, was soon publicly voicing the LBJ line on Vietnam. Chennault and Thieu rightly concluded they had been duped by the soon-to-be thirty-seventh president of the United States.
In a 2002 interview with the Shanghai Star, a bitter Mrs. Chennault declared: “To end the war was my only demand. But after [Nixon] became president, he decided to continue the war. Politicians are never honest.”12
In the phone call in which he falsely fingered John Tower as a possible traitor, Nixon promised Johnson he would contact Ambassador Bui Diem and urge South Vietnam to take part in the Paris negotiations. He didn’t say exactly how he would do this, but Nixon pretended to know little about the ambassador, even asking LBJ at one point, “Does he speak English?” After all, Nixon had conferred with Bui Diem—who spoke perfect English—just months before.
So, no wonder when President Nixon heard that LBJ’s files on Nixon’s 1968 “treason” might be at Brookings—he repeatedly insisted that the liberal think tank be raided.
At a Nixon meeting with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and chief of staff Bob Haldeman, Kissinger observed: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Brookings had the files.”
Haldeman: The bombing halt is in the same file, or in some of the same hands.
Nixon: Do we have it? I’ve asked for it. You said you don’t have it?
Kissinger: We have nothing here, Mr. President.
Nixon: Damn it! I asked for that [unintelligible]. Get in there and get those files!13
In a later conversation with Haldeman, Nixon asked: “Did they get the Brookings Institute (sic) raided last night? No? Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institute’s safe cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that it makes somebody else responsible.”14
* * *
Freshly declassified documents make it evident that Nixon had unsuccessfully tried even earlier to find out what the CIA’s files contained about possible connections among LBJ’s bombing halt, the Paris peace negotiations, and the 1968 U.S. presidential campaign. At first, he approached CIA director Richard Helms through NSC Advisor Henry Kissinger.
In response, on March 19, 1970, Helms sent Kissinger a three-page “secret” document outlining some of the intelligence data the agency collected in Vietnam in October and November of 1968. Several sections of the document are still classified, but Helms told Kissinger that, because of the sensitivity of the Paris peace talks, President Johnson had put a “freeze” on the distribution of such intelligence during that time period, allowing only a small number of people to see it.
“The President personally had to approve every reader of this material … No one at the agency saw it except myself and even I read the documents down at the White House,” the CIA chief declared.
Helms’s memo to Kissinger continues: “In compliance with President Johnson’s explicit instructions, all of the field intelligence on matters germane to the subject of your request was shortstopped by my office. The only dissemination of this data, he added, was “sent on an EYES ONLY basis to Secretary [of State Dean] Rusk and Mr. [Walt] Rostow. For this reason, we cannot give you a list of [SEVERAL WORDS CENSORED] during October of 1968 because there were none until the ‘freeze’ ended on 1 November.” In other words: No, you can’t have those particular CIA records.
Nixon didn’t give up hounding the agency for the files. On October 21, 1971, White House chief of staff Bob Haldeman sent a “secret/sensitive” memo to John Ehrlichman, the White House go-to guy on CIA matters.
An exasperated Haldeman asks Ehrlichman to try his hand at persuading Helms to fork over the documents: “I tried once before to get the information from the CIA through Henry Kissinger’s office. Director Helms claims that this information is not available in their files because it was forwarded directly to the White House. I can’t help but believe that the CIA would keep a copy of all intelligence reports even if they were only ‘bootleg’ copies.”
Ehrlichman wasted no time in getting on Helms’s case. On the same day, in a “secret/sensitive” memo to Helms, the White House aide cited the CIA boss’s earlier refusal to provide the requested material to Kissinger. And then Ehrlichman bluntly stated: “It has been requested that these documents be obtained despite prior restrictions on their distribution. Would you please forward copies of the requested documents?”
The Helms, Haldeman and Ehrlichman memos were declassified in December 2010. There is no indication that Helms ever shared with Nixon or any of his aides any of the Vietnam intelligence data from October of 1968 that the president was so eager to obtain.
Why didn’t President Johnson blow the whistle on Nixon’s sabotaging of the Paris peace talks? He explained his thinking in a newly released phone chat with Senator George Smathers of Florida—a good friend of Nixon’s: “I didn’t expose it because I just couldn’t use those sources [CIA, NSA and FBI] and I didn’t want to make it impossible for [Nixon] to govern.”15
LBJ had also been listening to the good advice of aide Clark Clifford, who counseled: “Some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have a certain individual [Nixon] elected.”
“It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s interests,” according to investigative reporter Robert Parry.16
On the other hand, LBJ did not listen to a young White House aide named Richard Holbrooke, who went on to become a top State Department official. Holbrooke later charged that Nixon and his co-conspirators “massively, directly and covertly interfered in a major diplomatic negotiation … probably one of the most important negotiations in American diplomatic history.”17
President Johnson’s attitude toward a top political adversary and toward his country could possibly rank as one of the noblest gestures in modern American political history. He’d caught a political opponent undermining sensitive negotiations that might have ended the fighting in Indochina and brought 500,000 U.S. troops home immediately.
As president, Richard Nixon went on to order the dropping of more bombs than any other commander-in-chief. He even secretly bombed neutral Cambodia for more than four years. Nixon double-crossed Thieu time and time again—and eventually even issued a thinly veiled threat on the South Vietnamese president’s life.
Some 20,000 American troops died during Nixon’s White House years, and the Vietnam War was still going on, when—faced with impeachment and conviction for a wide range of corrupt and illegal domestic conspiracies and cover-ups—the president was forced from office in disgrace in 1974. When Saigon fell to communist troops in 1975, the United States lost its first war. Yet Richard Nixon’s gravestone reads: “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”
Copyright © 2012 by Don Fulsom
Excerpted from Nixon's Darkest Secrets by Don Fulsom Copyright © 2012 by Don Fulsom. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Treason Wins the White House 5
2 Ties That Bind: The Mob's President 17
3 Nixon's Favorite Godfather: Carlos Marcello 39
4 Mobster in the White House: Bebe Rebozo 48
5 Nixon's Sexuality 58
6 Nixon's Wooing of Frank Sinatra 76
7 White House Plots to Kill Jack Anderson 85
8 Nixon's Plots Against Ted Kennedy and Daniel Ellsberg 99
9 Frank Sturgis: Nixon Plumber and Secret CIA Assassin 113
10 Nixon's Bay of Pigs Secrets 125
11 Nixon's Spymaster: E. Howard Hunt 140
12 Watergate: What Secrets Was Nixon Seeking? 153
13 Nixon: Vice Presidential Puppeteer 169
14 Nixon's "Best Kept" War Secret 175
15 The World's Most Powerful Drunk 193
16 Batterer in Chief 205
17 Threatening to Fire Kissinger, Ziegler: Nixon's War on the Press 215
18 Backstage at the Resignation 223
19 Nixon Orchestrates his Own Pardon 228
20 The Post-Resignation Ribald Raconteur 238
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have been studying Nixon for many years, reading every book about the man that I can find and there is no shortage of information out there about the man. Nixons life couldn't be less private than a political version of Jim Carreys character in the movie Truman. Nixon was so involved in "being president" when he was before the cameras that he seemed oblivious of anything else. In all of my readings regarding Nixon, the only thing that I have concluded about Nixon that has not been explored by the media is that he may have had ASPERGERS syndrome that well explains his reserve and social difficulties. Nothing that I have read about Nixon or heard on the tapes has led me to believe what is touted in the Don Fulsom book. In fact, Nixon's own voice from tapes and interviews show considerable tenderness and love for his wife. People close to Nixon, including Haig, have attested to how close the Nixon family was. Nixon is arguably the most investigated man in America during the last century. He was investigated by scores of political enemies who would've loved to destroy him, including Jack Anderson, if there was anything to EITHER of Fulsoms fevered speculations it would surely have come out. Bear in mind, at that time, homosexuality was regarded as an illness by the APA and a considerable liability for anyone seeking public office. Yet not one of Nixon's enemies who sought his destruction for past grievances made this accusation against Nixon, not one. Plus, Rebozo was investigated both before AND after Watergate, the only red flag was Mafia connections.  Don Fulsom touts his experience as "worked closely with Nixon" WHO does he think he's kidding here? Reporters report ON politicians, they don't work WITH them!  See, having read the books outlined by Fulsom as his sources, I know how he has skewed and cherry picked quotes. He also seems unable to plumb the facts about Rebozo, he states that Rebozo had only "brief" marriages, when in fact Rebozo was still married to his wife, whom he married during middle age, at the time he died at the age of 85. That doesn't sound like a brief marriage. Don Fulsom leaves out ANYTHING that doesn't help paint the picture that he's selling. As to "hand holding" what does that mean anyway? Google Nixon holding hands and you can find a picture of Nixon absent-mindedly holding Roy Acuffs hand after Roy showed him how to throw a Yoyo. What? Is Roy Acuff yet another Gay lover?  See YOUTUBE President Nixon Bowling and holding a young female bowlers hand.  Are we to think there was anything going on between them? All Politicians are adept at taking people by the hand. Let's look at the tapes. They cooked Nixon's goose in Watergate, Look for conversations available at the Nixon library, or the Miller Center. I will tell you that I have listened to many of Nixon's private conversations with Rebozo (CGR). Not bragging here, you can too. Not only are they brief (2 minutes or so) and unremarkable, with Nixon practically hanging up on his friend at times, but they often reveal a preconception on Nixon's part that his friend Rebozo was "a player" with the ladies.  Why did Fulsom ignore dozens of private conversations between the two? Because they DISAGREE with his innuendo. Fulsom EVEN insanely suggests that Nixon hated HIS OWN DAUGHTERS! I guess Don Fulsom can read minds! Fulsom's personal loathing is flagrantly revealed stun
A vicious attack on a dead man by a professed Nixon hater. The book speaks for itself, how anyone can take this shabby author seriously as he postulates wild fabrications based on nothing at all owes to the fact that there are lots of people out there who want to believe the worst about this guy. They join the author in his embrace of slander. I didn't particularly like Nixon but I can tell a cheap shot when I hear one. This book is riddled with inaccurate quotes and willful misinformation. A sad commentary on the state of publishing in the 21st century.
I had to force myself to finish this book. The author has a very warped view of friendship, I suppose any of us guys who go hunting or fishing annually would come under his suspicion as well. He accuses Nixon and Rebozo of having mob relations and engaging in criminal activity. How many people think that they needed an extra excuse to get together after reading that?? I mean, the men on the Sopranos spent a great deal of time together, perhaps in this authors vivid imagination Tony and Sal had a "thing" going on? This book is clearly an example of the depth that publishing houses are willing to go these days to sell books to people who want to fling manure at public figures. Why would this author go after a dead man whose reputation has already been thoroughly trampled, answer, One, he's dead and can't defend himself, and Two Nixon has a hefty following of haters who will gobble it up like flies on manure. Let me just warn anyone thinking of buying this book, it DOESN'T deliver new information, it's a clip job, and bad one at that. This author ignores information that doesn't line up with his premise. You see, the author apparently forgets that people who read books on Nixon, Have READ books on Nixon. We see the omissions of fact, even if some readers who are ignorant of Nixon do not.
I can't believe a reputable press like St. Martin's published this book. It is a hack job if ever I have seen one. It would appear that the author has a personal vendetta against Nixon. If you want salacious gossip, Kitty Kelley can, at least, write a better book. Mr. Fulsom is obviously no historian because he gets all of his information from other questionable books about Nixon. I saw no footnotes from serious Nixon historians like Stephen Ambrose and others. Not only are his sources questionable, the author has done a poor job of writing this book and it is in serious need of further editing. He is repetitive and fails to pull ideas together and draw conclusions. Just skip this book. It is a waster of your time.
I purchased this book today and finished reading it today. It's an explosive book and when I read of the clandestine set-up involving Richard Nixon to get South Vietnam's President, Thieu, to boycott the peace talks because Nixon promised him that South Vietnam and the USA would win the war when he became President, angered me. Even Sen. Dirksen, when he was given a heads-up about this clandestine action from LBJ, agreed that it was treason on Nixon's part. You will be appalled with Nixon's Mafia ties. Nixon publicly made homophobic statements, yet, there were witnesses who testified that Nixon and Bebe Rebozo were holding hands underneath the dinner table. The President also beat his wife and one time she had to go to an emergency clinic. He even slapped Air Force Sgt., Edward Kleizo, in the face and admonished him by saying, "I am not a crook!" He stood by while Gen. Lavelle was blamed for the escalated bombing in North Vietnam when it was the President's orders. "Nixon's Darkest Secrets" is a powerful book and one that you will be the star of the show when conversation breaks out at a social gathering.
This book was very revealing in many ways, but probably not for the reasons that the author would hope. Instead this book reveals the pettiness of the press in dealing with a president. Their unseemly gossip mongering based on nothing more than the fact that they didn't understand or care for the focal figure of their attention (Nixon). The kinds of things related here seem as though they would fit in with the halls of high school gossip cliques more so than professional men and women reporting the news in the halls of government. Overall in my opinion I found the author's sensational rumors, which seem to stem solely from his own pen, to be hyped for commercial gain and to gain attention for just another book vilifying a much maligned President. With so-called biographers like Fulsom who fail to credibly substantiate the information they disseminate and who fail to make a credible case for character assassination I have nothing but contempt and a warning for like minded authors, keep writing garbage like this, and no one will believe anything said of Nixon anymore. The pile on mentality and indiscriminate publishing of suspect information common in the unmoderated cyber news blogs has seemingly arrived in print and this doesn't bode well for credible and factual historical accounts on which the reader can rely. And heralds a juvenile and sensationalistic tabloid approach to relating matters of serious historical concerns. Epic fail Mr. Fulsom.
This book is not credible, particularly with respect to the irresponsible and unsubstantiated rumors that the author has tried to promulgate to help foster sales. If you care to delve into the facts, and had the author himself taken the time to do so (like any decent investigator would), he/you would find that Nixon's private recorded conversations with Bebe Rebozo reveals that Nixon believed his friend to be a 'ladie's Man" he even kidded him about it on tape. These tapes are available for anyone to review. Their relationship might have been venal, but it was decidedly not sexual. Because the author here abused the propensity for bloggers and web driven media to help sensationalize both these claims and his book (to help foster sales), for this reason alone Don Fulsom has impugned both his ability to investigate and verify, and he has shown himself to be a careless purveyor of tabloid journalism. Pathetic.
This book is a rambling thread of speculation, gossip and conspiracies. The author makes no bones about his opinion of Richard Nixon. I'd read books on a few of our presidents, some are more interesting than others. Richard Nixon gets a lot of attention probably cause of his crash and burn administration. But one thing that stands out about Nixon is his absolute diamond hard focus on his career. I doubt he had much energy left for any other venture. I distrust the views of the author of this book, there is a distinct seediness to the endless parade of carelessly formed speculations and it seems that many in the press core at that time was particularly hostile to everything Nixon did. In an atmosphere like that, I'd expect gossip and rumor to run rampant. Thats what happens to unpopular people, and Nixon was very very unpopular especially after Watergate.The allegations that Nixon beat his wife seems very unlikely, cause I would think that someone would have come forward, a nurse an orderly, someone who had either witnessed her treatment or her injuries. The press staked out Nixon home and something like that would not have gone unnoticed. Because of mean and petty people poor Pat rarely went out after the resignation, because one woman even spit on her in a store. If there was mistreatment of Pat Nixon by anyone it was from people who cruelly enjoy brutalizing fallen public figures. Richard Nixon was not the only president who had a very close friend during his presidency, far from it. I'd read about Woodrow Wilson and he had a very close intimate friendship with a man named "Colonel "House. This man, House, even had living quarters provided for him inside the White house. Perhaps this book's author would like to Pursue or create a rumor based on that? Maybe this could be Fulsom's next literary project? Questioning each of our presidents sexuality could become his thing. I'm not serious that he should but think you get my point. I think that America today is obsessed with sexuality, one of the most talked about subjects in the net is who among celebrities might or might not be gay. It's stupid and besides the point. We are all just people gay or straight it makes no difference. And I wouldn't expect a real historian to write a chapter about a presidents sexuality based on the fact he had a good friend. That the author indulged in vague speculations on Nixon personal life doesn't help one to believe the more serious conspiracies covered in this book. To take his information here at face value is difficult when one looks at the other ridiculous views that the author has entertained without proof. I agree with others here that he probably used the silly claims on Nixon personal life to draw attention to his book, I think he really wanted people to look at his conspiracy theories. But now he has linked one silly discreditable story to another, and it hurts his believability. In the end this book just made me feel sorry for Richard Nixon. Reading it I feel like I was a spectator watching as a bully ceaselessly pounds his defenseless victim. I won't be keeping this book.
I'm surprised at the nearly unanimous condemnation of "Nixon's Darkest Secrets." It's clear that author Don Fulsom disliked Nixon's intensely, but his revelations are backed with documentation that should have convinced skeptical reviewers of their truthfulness. Nixon was an alcoholic, and while drinking doesn't justify his actions as president, Fulsom makes Nixon's erratic behavior more understandable to anyone who has dealt with alcoholism in a spouse or family member. I found the book to be convincing, with one exception...Nixon is portrayed as in need of financial help from Howard Hughes, Bebe Rebozo, and Robert Abplanalp, yet Fulsom closes the book by claiming that Nixon's conduct reflected his innated greed.
Not recommended, repetitive and resentful account of a fallen historical figure. Scant facts, plenty of speculation fueled by authors obvious bias.
misleading book, poorly written, not recommended for students or scholars.