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Drawing on thousands of pages of archival material and on interviews with surviving associates, presidential biographer Reeves paints a complex, sometimes disturbing portrait of the man forever enshrined as Tricky Dick.
"I have decided my major role is moral leadership," Nixon wrote in 1972 in one of his myriad memos to himself. (As Reeves writes, "Whatever else he accomplished, Richard Nixon produced more paper and tape than any president before or since.") That resolution quickly collapsed; instead, as the Vietnam War shaded into defeat and protests at home mounted, Nixon sank into a siege mentality, seeing himself as a lone crusader at war with the rest of the world. Reeves examines the cat-and-mouse quality of Nixon's relations with his inner circle and family, as well as the excruciating collapse of national leadership in the wake of missteps, miscalculations, and sheer crimes. Rigorous and thoughtful, Reeves's book adds much to our understanding of Nixon's troubled presidency--and of his troubled soul. --Gregory McNamee [via]