In this provocative and revelatory assessment of the only president ever forced out of office, the legendary Washington journalist Elizabeth Drew explains how Richard M. Nixon’s troubled inner life offers the key to understanding his presidency. She shows how Nixon was surprisingly indecisive on domestic issues and often wasn’t interested in them. Turning to international affairs, she reveals the inner workings of Nixon’s complex relationship with Henry Kissinger, and their mutual rivalry and distrust. The Watergate scandal that ended his presidency was at once an overreach of executive power and the inevitable result of his paranoia and passion for vengeance.
Even Nixon’s post-presidential rehabilitation was motivated by a consuming desire for respectability, and he succeeded through his remarkable resilience. Through this book we finally understand this complicated man. While giving him credit for his achievements, Drew questions whether such a man—beleaguered, suspicious, and motivated by resentment and paranoia—was fit to hold America’s highest office, and raises large doubts that he was.
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Richard Milhous Nixon was an improbable president. He didn't particularly like people. He lacked charm or humor or joy. Socially awkward and an introvert, he had few friends and was virtually incapable of small talk. He didn't care to, in his words, "press the flesh." He was also one of our most complex presidents: insecure, self-pitying, vindictive, suspicious--even literally paranoid--and filled with long-nursed anger and resentments, which burst forth from time to time. He never seemed the happy warrior.
Even reaching the pinnacle of American politics didn't