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The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Anthony Summers' biography of Richard Nixon reveals a troubled figure whose criminal behavior did not begin with Watergate. Drawing on more than a thousand interviews and five years of research, Summers reveals a man driven by an addiction to intrigue and power, whose subversion of democracy during Watergate was the culmination of years of cynical political manipulation. N ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published August 28th 2000)
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Erik Graff
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nixon fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Having previously read Summer's book about J. Edgar Hoover I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was about the muck-raking quality of thie 'biography' of Richard M. Nixon. I write 'biography' because this isn't quite that. Very little mention is made of Nixon's achievements, much attention is paid to his character flaws and criminal activities--all of it documented, though much by means of hearsay, albeit some multiply-sourced.

The Nixon emerging from this study is a morally uncentered person w
Pete daPixie
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-u-s
A stunning history book that is the size and weight of the Holy Bible, that appears to contain just as many profound accounts of past events and extraordinary revelations as the good book itself.
'The Arrogance of Power:The Secret World of Richard Nixon' is a startling, incredible, almost unbelievable and frightening political biography, written by the ex BBC correspondent Anthony Summers.
In almost five hundred pages of text, one hundred and twenty pages of Notes, a seven page Bibliography and In
Alex Robinson
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
First off, I will confess I didn't complete this book. I find Nixon a fascinating figure but I found the style to be somewhat hysterical, along the lines of biographers like Albert Goldman. The author is so determined to show that Nixon was a sleazebag in every way possible that he winds up relying on a lot of hearsay ("Joe Smith said Nixon once kicked a dog, according to his valet Chet Jones") and makes some bold claims with little evidence (the fact that Nixon beat his wife, for instance). Nix ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been on a Richard Nixon kick, having read a couple of books regarding "Watergate" from Ben Bradlee's bio, the Woodward and Bernstein book "All the President's Men" and now this book by Anthony Summers. The detail (along with 125 pages of end notes documenting his research) was tremendous and painted a very detailed picture that leaves people to wonder how Richard Nixon got away with what he did for as long as he did.

It sometime felt like you were reading biographical fiction at times and th
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book amazed me. I actually couldn't put it down which was a bummer because it's a big, heavy book and bringing it with me everywhere was a pain. I am fascinated by Nixon - corrupt to the bone, totally ruthless and also brilliant. His psychiatrist thought he was insane and there are unsettling descriptions of the Secret Service chasing him through the White House trying to tackle him mid-freakout. Of course, after GW Bush, he doesn't seem so damaging to the country but he was, obviously. A b ...more
F.C. Schaefer
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
It seems like we shall never run out of books on Richard Nixon, nearly a quarter of a century after his death, the life of the disgraced 37th President still reverberates in the 21st Century. Walk into any bookstore and you will find at least one recently written book with him as the subject on the shelf in the biography section. THE ARROGANCE OF POWER: THE SECRET WORLD OF RICHARD NIXON by Anthony Summers was written in the early 2000’s and had sat on my own shelf for a few years and I only rece ...more
Alexander Santiago
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: americana, politics
This is probably the most disturbing read on an American president that I have ever come across. I thought I knew most things about Nixon, but this meticulously and carefully researched book blew me away! Nixon definitely did not earn the sobriquet 'Tricky Dick' for nothing, as the underhanded, Machiavellian tactics he employed not only during his run for the senate, but during his run for the presidency was absolutely mind boggling! And that is just the tip of the iceberg when you learn about h ...more
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I enjoyed the history aspect and the tales of Nixon's younger days. Often, though, the author seemed bogged down in the intense details of certain monetary transactions and proof Nixon lied or covered things up. I would rather read more colorful stuff than those dry facts. Nevertheless, it's a pretty authoritative and compelling biography with one exception: There is next to nothing about the last 20 years of his life (1974-94). Surely details were to be had of his visits to the White House unde ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating, well-written and researched book. It helped explain some of the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK's assassination. It explained a great deal about Cuba and Nixon's involvement. Watergate is presented in a clear and logical manner. It also covered all the political corruption in a presidential campaign. The spying, the counter-propaganda, digging for dirt, and sometimes making it up. All the nasty dirty tricks politicians use on each other. This book was quite an eye-ope ...more
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
"actually couldn't put it down which was a bummer because it's a big, heavy book and bringing it with me everywhere was a pain" >>> oh how I feel you with that one, I had exactly the same problem! Hence its taken me longer to read than I would have liked, but I think the depth of research is amazing and there were so many new facets of Nixon's character revealed that I haven't seen examined elsewhere. I have really enjoyed it, other than the seminal "All the President's Men" and sequel this is m ...more
Dave Hofer
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This was almost too dense but I haven't read a lot of political books. The author was very proud of interviews he conducted. No mention of Nixon meeting Elvis.
Aaron Million
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a difficult book to categorize. It is not a full-fledged biography, as it neither covers Nixon completely from birth to death, nor does it discuss much of the policy side of his presidency. It is not presidential history as the focus is solely on Nixon and, again, the actual accomplishments of his presidency are skimmed over at best. It is also not a history of Watergate - the act actually does not occur until about 100 pages from the end.

Instead, this is more of an indictment of Richar
Khayer Chowdhury
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up in a charity shop for around a quid after I thought what the hell. Despite doing IR degrees for around 5 years, I rarely paid any attention to Nixon and his presidency despite him being at the centre of major global events at that time. Summers really exposes Nixon's character and flaws. The detail is alarmingly intricate and at times, scary. E.g. Nixon's Madman Theory.

This is definitely worth a read if you are interested in America's most psychopathic president who also was a pa
RJ Corby
Feb 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Political & Watergate Junkies
**Pretty good, but overkill in some areas & lacking in others**

(Orig. Review, Jan '05)

This is not a biography of Richard Nixon, but merely an expose of some of the worst crimes committed by a chief executive in this country's history. Prior to reading The Arrogance of Power, I shared the widely held view that RMH was one of the worst, contemptible, corrupt presidents in US history, but after reading the book, I'm firmly convinced more than ever that he sits firmly entrenched atop the list.

Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
Nixon was the most disturbed person to serve as President and surely in the top 5 list of worst presidents. At at time when some writers were trying to resuscitate Nixon's reputation, Anthony Summers wrote this biography to remind the world of Nixon's crimes and bring up many other things that you might not have known.

Nixon is synonymous with Watergate, but I think his greater crimes are 1) sabotaging Johnson's Viet Nam peace proposals before the 1968 election promising South Viet Nam that he wo
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely fascinating and informative. I feel like I got inside the head of Richard M Nixon and his "la loi c'est moi" attitude. His sense of greatness was instilled into his psyche by his mother and his egocentric view was prevalent long before Watergate. The book makes it apparent since Nixon was a senator that corporations could handpick and inflate individuals that will do their bidding. Nevertheless, the book is heavy in detail and it gives you a sense of experiencing the hig ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A truly hard look at Nixon's life and what influenced him, being as important for hour history as what he influenced. He was from the first, out of Duke Law School, a creature of double-dealing and coruuption with close ties to the incestuous family of intelligence and organized crime (grown strong since prohibition).
His conventional legacy and 'place in history' is evidence of his PR successes (bought and paid for) and a reflection of our self-hating need for heroes whatever the cost.
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's no doubt that this is a massive book, and I don't just mean that it's heavy to carry around! Summers' research is superb but that kind of data demands much of the reader. The meat of the book is fascinating - Richard Nixon's whole seedy world is kind of mesmerising and even though there's a lot to digest it's hard to put down.
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book, and it was pretty good. It's a non-whitewashed biography of Richard Nixon. But do I really want to read a nearly 500 page book about an amoral scoundrel? Finished finally on 2/25/1/01. The book goes on to describe the Watergate years and the times leading up to them. It is a frightening discussion of the White House out of control.
Apr 21, 2007 rated it really liked it

So far, so very good. Much better, I have to say, than Richard Reeves' work on Nixon. But for sure this is more of a polemic than anything else---Nixon for the non-historian, Nixon for the true-crime book reader, with all the salacious details.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr Summers give us a look into Nixon's life that I never read about or even heard about in any mention of him in history texts. I must give Mr Summers an A+ for his investigative skills and his interviews. This book was a great read and I would recommend it to any one.
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome book. I've been reading a bunch of Nixon related books recently and this was a great addition to the mix. I've read a bunch by Woodward and Bernstein, but this is a book all its own.
Donald Krieger
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone I know.
Recommended to Donald by: henry Kissinger

Juicy, fascinating book about Richard Nixon and the years of his presidency. A classic
tale of power and paranoia.

Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it
This one is really interesting, but can definitely be dry. The insanity of Richard Nixon is FASCINATING.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Very interesting but a little long. Lots of detail that I didn't know or remember during Watergate times. Scary!!
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
A difficult read . . . provides a fascinating view of power. The machinations behind the scenes profoundly changed my view of Nixon. A tragic figure, sadly misunderstood.
Maxo Marc
Doesn't paint a flattering picture of our former president.
Amanda Fay
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although this book took forever to read it was really good!
F. Denise
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you wonder what made Tricky Dick Tricky, read this book. Man of many paronorias and strange behavior. Crook, yes he was and much more.
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very disturbing examanination of the misuse of power
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Anthony Summers is the bestselling author of eight nonfiction books. His investigative books include Not in Your Lifetime, the critically acclaimed book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy; Official & Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover; and most recently The Eleventh Day, on the 9/11 attacks—a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History. ...more

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