lucid and readable Mar 22, 2012
I will always be grateful to President Nixon for ending the Vietnam draft the spring of my senior HS year in 1973. But then the Watergate saga left me with a strong impression of his darker side. Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that he was perhaps the best prepared man in history to become president, and that he is an American Horatio Alger story. I happened to be in LA this winter and so I sought out the Nixon museum at his birthplace. And that visit prompted me to buy this book. I found the book fascinating. It is very well written by Nixon himself. It is a window on the 50s that I had not previously known of. And the incidents described, and his reaction to each of them, show a new side to his character largely at odds with his Watergate reputation. No mistake, a few of his traits from that later time peek through, especially in his sixth crisis (the 1960 presidential election) but that made the book all the more fascinating to me. An argument might be made that the seeds of Watergate were sown in certain fraudulent Texas and Illinois precinct results, leaving him feeling cheated for "playing by the rules" against the Democrats.And the seeds of the bombing of Hanoi and the illegal invasion into Laos can be seen in his conviction that Communists would only negotiate with those they respected as tough. All in all, a new and welcome more-balanced perspective for me on a man with great gifts, great contributions to our nation, and great faults, but who came to be widely respected in political circles for his foreign policy expertise after his fall from grace.