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One man against the world : the tragedy of Richard Nixon
2015
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
History
Political
Topics
Nixon, Richard M.
U.S. presidents
Republican Party
Suspicion
Vietnam War
Watergate
American history
Setting
- United States
Time Period
1913-1994 -- 20th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

According to National Book Award winner Weiner (Legacy of Ashes), President Richard Nixon's (1913-94) most tragic flaw was his idea that the presidency was above the law; a delusion that drove him to the "gutter politics" that led to the Watergate scandal in 1972 and his inevitable resignation in 1974. While much included here will resonate with scholars and avid Nixon readers, Weiner's deep research of archival documents that were not declassified until the 21st century reveals new, chilling information-notably about bombings in Southeast Asia and a near-nuclear confrontation with the former Soviet Union. These findings either correct or verify the works of previous Nixon biographies. Here, Weiner focuses on diplomacy and Watergate because he asserts that Nixon did not care about domestic politics except where his presidential campaigns were concerned. Nixon's unwavering misconception that he could bomb North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos into submission resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians. This, indeed, was the former president's greatest tragedy. The author sadly concludes that subsequent presidents (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama) failed to learn from Nixon's flaws and have exhibited Nixonian deceits. VERDICT An enthralling and vital work that will appeal to history buffs and presidential historians. Weiner recommends John W. Dean's The Nixon Defense for an unvarnished view of the beleaguered president's resignation.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Weiner, a National Book Award winner for Legacy of Ashes, pulls no punches in his devastating account of Nixon's presidency, drawing on documents declassified in the last seven years. As his depressing introductory note states, "For those who lived under Nixon, it is worse than you may recollect. For those too young to recall, it is worse than you can imagine." Weiner doesn't spend much time on Nixon's formative years, judging them to be irrelevant to an objective assessment of a ruthless politician-one whose conduct in the 1968 presidential campaign L.B.J. later deemed treasonous. For those who remember Nixon primarily for Watergate, Weiner also presents an eye-opening account of his role in the Vietnam War, when he initiated all-too-serious discussions of using nuclear weapons on the North Vietnamese. Weiner describes Nixon as "at war with his own military leaders" and notes that the president "would drink toasts and sign treaties with the men who were arming his enemies." Additionally, chilling excerpts from tape recordings that have only recently been made accessible include cold-blooded exchanges between Nixon and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in which the two debate the merits of committing war crimes in order to win in Vietnam. This is powerful raw material, but Weiner's brilliant turns of phrase transform it into something extraordinary. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p> A shocking and riveting look at one of the most dramatic and disastrous presidencies in US history, from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner <br> <br> Based largely on documents declassified only in the last few years, One Man Against the World paints a devastating portrait of a tortured yet brilliant man who led the country largely according to a deep-seated insecurity and distrust of not only his cabinet and congress, but the American population at large. In riveting, tick-tock prose, Weiner illuminates how the Vietnam War and the Watergate controversy that brought about Nixon's demise were inextricably linked. From the hail of garbage and curses that awaited Nixon upon his arrival at the White House, when he became the president of a nation as deeply divided as it had been since the end of the Civil War, to the unprecedented action Nixon took against American citizens, who he considered as traitorous as the army of North Vietnam, to the infamous break-in and the tapes that bear remarkable record of the most intimate and damning conversations between the president and his confidantes, Weiner narrates the history of Nixon's anguished presidency in fascinating and fresh detail.</p> <p>A crucial new look at the greatest political suicide in history, One Man Against the World leaves us not only with new insight into this tumultuous period, but also into the motivations and demons of an American president who saw enemies everywhere, and, thinking the world was against him, undermined the foundations of the country he had hoped to lead.</p>
Table of Contents
Author's Notep. 1
Chapter 1"A great, bad man"p. 5
Chapter 2"This is treason"p. 16
Chapter 3"He was surrounded by enemies"p. 27
Chapter 4"He will let them know who is boss around here"p. 36
Chapter 5"The center cannot hold"p. 43
Chapter 6"Madman"p. 58
Chapter 7"Don't strike a king unless you intend to kill him"p. 73
Chapter 8"A pitiful, helpless giant"p. 79
Chapter 9"An unmitigated disaster"p. 88
Chapter 10"Only we have the power"p. 102
Chapter 11"We're not going to lose this war"p. 113
Chapter 12"It's a conspiracy"p. 124
Chapter 13"I can see the whole thing unravel"p. 134
Chapter 14"It is illegal, but..."p. 142
Chapter 15"Night and Fog"p. 153
Chapter 16"From one extreme to another"p. 163
Chapter 17"This is the supreme test"p. 172
Chapter 18"Palace intrigue"p. 187
Chapter 19"We have produced a horrible tragedy"p. 201
Chapter 20"A hell of a way to end the goddamn war"p. 218
Chapter 21"You could get a million dollars"p. 229
Chapter 22"Vietnam had found its successor"p. 246
Chapter 23"The President of the United States can never admit that"p. 263
Chapter 24"The same enemies"p. 280
Chapter 25United States v. Richard Milhous Nixonp. 295
Epiloguep. 315
Judgmentsp. 319
Acknowledgmentsp. 321
Notesp. 325
Indexp. 357
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