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Richard M. Nixon (The American Presidents #37)

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The complex man at the center of America's most self-destructive presidency

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 dom
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Times Books
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Dec 23, 2007 Patrick rated it liked it
Shelves: americanhistory
A quick read. Well documented...Hundreds of endnotes document the author's sources.

Nixon fascinates me. Whenever I think about this guy, I wonder:

- How did Nixon develop into the type of person that he became?

- How did this guy, who was never comfortable around people, every get elected President?

- How could a smart guy like Nixon ever get in the middle of Watergate in the first place?

This book addresses the second question in some detail, and covers the third question very well.

The main thing I
Jul 08, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it
The biographer's art is a delicate one, especially when writing about modern, tragic figures. Readers already know how the subject's life turned out, so there can be no narrative tension. Many aspects of the subject's personality and temperament are also well established, and readers may already have unshakeable attitudes about the subject. Rising to these challenges is a tall order. "Richard M. Nixon" by Elizabeth Drew succeeds admirably. It is incisive and fair, and it is so well written it is ...more
Steven Peterson
Aug 06, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Drew's biography of President Richard M. Nixon is yet one more entry in Arthur Schlesinger, Jr's "The American Presidents" series. One interesting wrinkle. Other volumes in this series have suggested that the incessant critique of certain presidents may have missed other aspects of their work that is not so negative. The works on Warren Harding and Ulysses Grant come to mind. One may well disagree with the authors, but they provide sympathetic--albeit realistic--evaluations of their su ...more
Mark Desrosiers
Aug 26, 2007 Mark Desrosiers rated it liked it
Shelves: history
It's impossible to be concise about Richard Nixon, but Drew gives it a good shot in under 200 pages. Unfortunately, this book is poorly edited, and Drew seems to be recycling a lot of her past works here. Ye no matter how much she minces him, she still makes you long for this slouching jowly pragmatist, especially when you consider the chipper retard in office now.

Most interesting is her contention that the potential Watergate impeachment -- the fact that the "system worked" for once -- was not
Jennifer Nelson
Feb 23, 2013 Jennifer Nelson rated it did not like it
In my presidential reading odyssey, this book has to be the most discouraging, frustrating, and unsatisfying one of the lot. I found myself wondering repeatedly, how did such an unprincipled, self-focused, self-serving, unappealing, cold, and ruthless and man make it into the highest office of the land? I found little to admire in his life.

Not only was the subject matter unappealing, but the book itself is written in a jumbled and repetitious way, seems to lack focus, is highly negative (I know
Alicia Joy
Mar 07, 2015 Alicia Joy rated it really liked it
I did not like the organization of the book, it made it difficult to understand the timeline of Nixon's presidency. However, I feel like the author was very neutral in his writing as I did not once think that the author had disdain for Nixon until the last two paragraphs, which were very scathing. Bravo to the author for that.
Jason Chambers
Dec 31, 2012 Jason Chambers rated it did not like it
Shelves: hist-7coldwar
I could only get through half the book, and even that was difficult. The book was so vehemently anti-Nixon that if I cared enough to put the time into it, I'd check and see if Elizabeth Drew was formerly a Humphrey or Kennedy campaign staffer. This is the 2nd I've read in Schlesinger's American President Series - the first was LBJ's. Both books take multiple shots at Bush 43's administration - which is a little out of left field for books about Presidencies from the 60's and early 70's.

I would
Shawn Thrasher
Sep 05, 2011 Shawn Thrasher rated it liked it
Someone below/before reviewed this as "capturing the essence" of Richard Nixon, and I think that's a great description of this book. How do you write a short biographical sketch of Richard Nixon without dipping a toe into left wing hatchet jobbery - or right wing hagiography? I'm not sure Elizabeth Drew succeeds in keeping her hatchet sheathed, but then I'm not sure it's possible to write about Richard Nixon and not make him sound like at least a little bit of a snake in the grass (apologies to ...more
Gary Geiger
I would like to give a shout out to The American Presidents biography series. These short books give a good overview of the lives of presidents. They aren't deep but sometimes all you are looking for is an executive summary and something more substantial than an encyclopedia entry. My friend Bob Timmerman reviewed most of these on his blog.
Oct 21, 2008 Craig rated it liked it
A well written, brief synopsis of President Nixon's life. Although the author clearly tries to be objective, there is absolutely no doubt that she does not have a high opinion of the man. A wide array of vulgar language is scattered throughout the book, most of it in the later chapters on Foreign Policy and Watergate.

Anyone looking for a short, slightly negatively biased overview of former President Nixon would enjoy this volume.
Steven Freeman
It is still quite alarming that such a flawed and paranoid man could become president.
Samuel Lubell
This was for a book club. There was a debate as to whether this was a hatchet job by a journalist with personal reasons to hate Nixon or if the flaws were a result of the short length of the book. But why would a series of presidential biographies hire a journalist and not a historian, especially for a recent and controversial president? And why such a short book for such a complex man?
Jun 07, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing
A short, but excellent, review of the Nixon Presidency and the Nixon personality by Elizabeth Drew, a superb writer and an outstanding observer of the Washington scene. This book puts many things in perspective and is well worth reading.
Ryan Henry
May 27, 2013 Ryan Henry marked it as to-read
never knew how much he was responsible for the modern day Republican party...Nixon "transformed the party of Abraham Lincoln into the party that welcomed racists and despisers of big government..."
Jim Melcher
Aug 02, 2012 Jim Melcher rated it liked it
I registered a book at!
Jul 01, 2008 Jack rated it really liked it
Great, short book on Tricky Dick. He was a nut. A brilliant nut. But a nut nonetheless.
Alex Robinson
Oct 28, 2008 Alex Robinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, bio
Nice compact bio of one of America's most interesting presidents.
Aug 19, 2009 Malerie rated it really liked it
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