Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon” as Want to Read:
RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  862 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Former President Richard Nixon's bestselling autobiography is an intensely personal examination of his life, public career, and White House years. With startling candor, Nixon reveals his beliefs, doubts, and behind-the-scenes decisions, shedding new light on his landmark diplomatic and domestic initiatives, political campaigns, and historic decision to resign from the pre ...more
Hardcover, 1111 pages
Published January 1st 1979 by Warner Books (NY) (first published May 1st 1978)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about RN, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about RN

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  862 ratings  ·  52 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon
John Harder
I love stories about very intelligent people with a fatal flaw. Nixon fits this to a T. I am fascinated by Nixon’s trip to China. Though it resulted in a foreign relations coup and ultimately opening China provided a huge benefit for the average Chinese citizen, how could Nixon shake hands with one of the worst monsters in world history -- Mao Zedong? He did not seem phased by this, proving he was an adherent of realpolitik.

RN offers an indispensible perspective of a troubled and potentially tri
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm always drawn to the flawed and misunderstood hero. Nixon fascinates me as one of the greatest foreign diplomats in US history. An extremely talented and intelligent man plagued by paranoia and and a misguided sense of loyalty.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. It gave me a sense of the scale of RN's historical achievements and his personality. The last 350 pages were almost painful to read as he goes into intense detail on Watergate and the reader sees how an Administration accomplishes historic goals (opening with China, end of Vetnam, return of POW's, arms agreements with USSR, stabilizing Mid East, opening relations with Sadat's Egypt while helping Golda Meir keep Israel alive in two wars) against a looming scandal which grad ...more
Aaron Million
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The vast bulk of Nixon's book focuses on his presidency. While this is certainly understandable, he had so many experiences prior to that time that it would have been interesting to have read more about his time in Congress and as Vice President. He hits on the main incidents of both, with particular focus on the Hiss case in 1948 and the fund crisis/Checkers Speech in 1952.But he does not say hardly a word about his relationships with other legislators, or what it was like to preside over the S ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During my entire four years in the USMC, Richard Nixon was my president. With full confidence and admiration for him, I had nothing but the highest regard for Mr. Nixon both as a man and as a president.

While I was stationed in SE Asia, in my estimation and that of other Marines, Nixon was "the man!" He is the one who brought the horrible quagmire which was the Vietnam War to an end, bringing our POWs home with their heads held high.

He had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in. His subordina
Scott Hazen
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nixon's style is both complex and readable, the Memoirs are a page turner to me because his era in American politics spans such a long time and such a fascinating time. Odd is this may seem, and even though he provides very little as Pat is concerned, I came away with a much deeper respect for her...she was never out front as some of the later Presidential wives have become, and she placed a personal integrity above all else. RN was complex and fascinating...and I have read the memiors twice, ju ...more
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, politics
More than anything, I enjoyed Nixon's account of how hard he worked to get through college and law school. It inspired me coming out of high school when I found myself in similar circumstances; and it has helped me appreciate Nixon with a bit more humanity than most - faults and all - ever since.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
First, it really doesn’t matter where you stand politically. Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, what you’ll find here is a book where the main character is not much given to that kind of sorrow that results in true repentance. Instead, there seems to be a lot of victimhood in here—someone else’s fault, always someone else out to impede or derail the author.

So why would anyone want to read a book by a whiner about the tragedies of his life largely imposed on him by others? Bec
Shaqer Rasheed
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is basically the history of the US in the 3rd quarter of the 20th century. Nixon is an amazing writer, whatever your opinion about the politician. The man had a razor sharp intellect and the quality so lacking in politicians these days- courage.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Hines
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hold a degree in political science and have been active in politics and government for nearly 30 years now, and Richard Nixon for me has been the great fascinating mystery of modern politics. No president or politician except perhaps for Woodrow Wilson accomplished so much change yet crashed so dramatically. I have read literally dozens of books on Nixon but could never bring myself to read his memoirs until I found a copy at a used book sale over the summer. After reading this mesmerizing and ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first presidential memoirs I have read. Very interesting since I was one of those Nixon haters back then. I learned a lot about the man and appreciate the struggles involved in ending the war in Vietnam. In that way gives me better perspective on today's wars.
Well written and the diary notes were most interesting.
May 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I've read everything Nixon wrote, several times. He was brilliant, insightful, liberal in many ways, by today's neo-con standards, and, of course, tragically flawed. In a word, he was human. All of that is on display in his memoirs. It is well worth the read, no matter what perspective on him or politics, you bring to the experience.
Jussi Mononen
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't have to like Tricky Dick, but this is a far better written presidential memoir than most. Nixon is not exactly forthcoming about Watergate but the book gives a good glimpse of the thinking and philosophy of the man.
Lincoln David
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Nixon’s grit, self-righteousness, fatalism, and paranoia are on full display in his memoirs. He uses his diary notes and the diary entries of those close to him, compiled throughout his life, for detailed accounts of his decision-making. The sections on opening relations with China, ending the Vietnam War, and his perception of the handling of Watergate are incredibly detailed - the Watergate details dominate the second half of the book and I found it to be somewhat of a slog. It’s a page turner ...more
D.A. Cairns
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Political autobiographies are not for the faint-hearted reader. Long winded and repetitive much like the way politicians, in general, speak they offer amzing insights into behind the scenes machinations of political life. Every head of state, at some stage will write one of these and it will sell very well. No surprise there. Richard Nixon's Memoirs are not in anyway different from other political biographies except for one thing.

Very early in this 100 page epic, where Nixon was recounting his c
Geo Forman
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
a long slog but very interesting hearing the story from Nixon's perspective. He, too, felt that some laws were less important than others and, on more than one occassion, mentioned that some of the things he and others in his administration did were no worse than things Democrats did ,as though that excused bad behavior.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Download a pdf of my complete book review here at my FilesAnywhere account using this link:

RN; The Memors of Richard Nixon

The mention of “Richard Nixon” by the political left or the media is an automatic “gotcha” as against those on the other side. It is with glee they mention Richard Nixon was a Republican. If you study the events of the era and the manner and success with which President Nixon handled them, you may form a different opinion than what you
Philip Roberts
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Are you yearning for a meticulously detailed account of every single decision Richard Milhouse Nixon has ever made? Do you enjoy love stories that only last a paragraph followed by chapters about the art of memo-crafting? Are you a crook?

...but seriously I loved this book.
Meihan Liu
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nixon writes like Arthur Morgan, although he does not use run-on sentences. He has a particular reserved way of narrating his life, surprisingly featuring honesty and sensitivity.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent account of one man's descent into madness.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Outstanding memoirs, and one I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. Although the book's length was discouraging, it's content was rich. The term political animal must have been coined with Richard Nixon in mind.

The beginning of the book was not as tedious as I thought it might be. Fairly quickly RN moved to the Alger Hiss case with discussion of Whitaker Chambers and "The Pumpkin Papers", and then the 1952 election and the "Checkers Speech". I've have read material on both of these episode
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Presidential Library edition of this book which had a new introduction by the author. In it, he admits he should have waited longer to write it because he felt he focused too much on Watergate. I agree with him on that point.

Reading this book, or any of Nixon's books, you come away with the impression that he was an extremely intelligent man - perhaps the smartest president of the 20th Century. But he was also a deeply flawed man. He constantly felt under valued and under attack from
Jul 18, 2007 rated it liked it
You seldom find an autobiography that expresses criticism of the subject. That is especially true in this case, although one wouldn't expect to find Richard Nixon criticizing anything he did as president. This book was far too lengthy, and if you read it expecting to find a confession by Nixon, you are in for a disappointment. Nixon is, as he was in life, on the defensive much of the time.

It's not a problem that only Nixon had. Almost everyone who ever wrote a memoir did so as a means of getting
It's really long, but worth it. That said, Six Crises is a better memoir, but this one does cover more of his life. Hard to argue against a book written after Watergate, but this is still Nixon memoir #2 in my rankings. The other books are interesting too, but the aforementioned two strike me as the essential Nixon. ...more
Ed Armstrong
May 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was quite interesting when I began reading it but as I progressed and Nixon "got more into" his own "story" I got the sense that the man was bizzar. At every turn he was "enunciating" some other "doctrine" which description always included his name. He was indeed a complex man, very intelligent and would have ended up being quite an effective president had it not been for his Waterloo: Watergate.
Keith Thomson
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiographies
Say what you will about Nixon--and very likely what you have to say will preclude your considering this book--but he was a bright guy and had a unique perspective, having endured arguably the greatest fall in history. I was interested for those reasons. The book is insightful, exquisitely-written, compellingly humble and full of remorse. Also Dick is quite the raconteur. He may still be the worst-ever US president. But he is the best presidential autobiographer.
Don Heiman
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nixon's memoirs is explicit, lucid, and written with amazing candor. Students of public administration will benefit from reading Nixon's description of the events that led to the downfall of his presidency. I am amazed at the role poor electronic technologies played in Nixon's struggle with audio tapes and transcription issues. The memoirs convinced me that open government policies must drive democracy and government accountability. I will think about Nixon's memoirs for a long time.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it

Nixon was witness to many leaders and events. The only man aside from FDR to be nominated to a national ticket of a major party FIVE times. His recounting of events and leaders is very interesting. When we get to the Watergate period, it bogs down in legal tit-for-tat, where we already know the outcome.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have always intensely dislike Richard Nixon, both as a person and as a President. I read the book hoping to come to a more nuanced view; instead I came to feel he was even more profoundly depraved.

Still, I was one of the few in my senior year of high school class to support his pardon. I did not feel then that "piling on" was in the American tradition.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full
  • Eisenhower: The White House Years
  • Theodore Rex
  • Eisenhower: Soldier and President
  • Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #2)
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Benjamin Harrison (The American Presidents, #23)
  • Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times
  • John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life
  • Grant
  • Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America
  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
  • Being Nixon: A Man Divided
  • Chester Alan Arthur (The American Presidents, #21)
  • Zachary Taylor
  • The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House
  • Eisenhower in War and Peace
  • The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s
See similar books…
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States from 1969 to 1974. During the Second World War, he served as a Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific, before being elected to the Congress, and then serving as the 36th Vice President of the United States in the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. After an unsuccessful presidential run in 1960, Nixon was ele ...more

News & Interviews

  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
49 likes · 8 comments
“solutions are not the answer” 3 likes
“personal” 1 likes
More quotes…