One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon
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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
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.
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.
personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: us.macmillanusa.com/piracy. To Kate, Emma, and Ruby Doyle, with everlasting love Author’s Note Balzac once wrote that politicians are “monsters of self-possession.” Yet while we may show this veneer on the outside, inside the turmoil becomes almost
CINCPAC [Adm. John S. McCain] and COMUSMACV [Gen. Creighton Abrams] that ‘the political situation here is not good.’ The President considered that public opinion would hold ‘until about October,’ when some further action on his part would be required.” The complete text of this history is online at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/doctrine/history/jcsvietnam_69_70.pdf. “Convey the impression that Nixon is somewhat ‘crazy’”: Leonard Garment, Crazy Rhythm (Boston: Perseus Books, 1999), pp. 174–77.
casualties is being thrown at me at every juncture: in the press, by the Secretary of Defense, at the White House and on the Hill,” General Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote to General Abrams in Saigon on April 3. “I am concerned that decisions could be made in response to strong pressure inside and on the administration to seek a settlement of the war.” Both men had been commanders in World War II under General Eisenhower, who had died the week before, on March 28. Like Ike,
foreign minister Gromyko for more than three hours, first in the Oval Office with their aides, then alone with their interpreters in the president’s Executive Office Building hideaway. Gromyko, who had held his post since 1957 and had served as ambassador to the United States during World War II, was perfectly diplomatic, but deeply pessimistic about Vietnam. He said there was no prospect for peace “unless the United States was willing to work out the timing for withdrawal of its troops, and
Richard Kleindienst, telephoned a loyal assistant, L. Patrick Gray. “Pat, I am going to appoint you acting director of the FBI,” he said. “You have to be joking,” Gray replied. Gray, crew-cut, bullet-headed, a former naval commander, had known Nixon since 1947. Gray had been chosen for one reason: he was fiercely loyal to the president. He revered him. He soon learned to fear him. He immediately went to the White House, where Nixon gave him some wisdom. “Never, never figure that anyone’s your