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RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, with a New Introduction (Richard Nixon Library Editions) Paperback – 1 May 1990
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The former president recounts his life and political rises and falls, concentrating on the events, domestic and international, of his presidency and those leading up to his unprecedented resignation.
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From his first big break in the Alger Hiss case to his final days before his resignation, Nixon is quite honest about his reasons and explanations for all his courses of action.
The account is of a highly talented man who tried his best in difficult circumstances, however his excuses for Watergate are perhaps not entirely convincing. Though to be fair to him, FDR, JFK and LBJ were all serial wire tappers and snoopers. Nixon's main crime it seems was getting caught.
The best bits for me are his famous lists he used to write coming up with pros and cons of topics and issues. He doesn't present these in the book in their original form, but he does mention them in the text. We do see entries from his diaries and original scribblings of letters both sent and received by Richard Milhous Nixon.
Whether it is his visit to China, or weighing up his options for Vietnam, the Memoirs of Richard Nixon are engrossing, and at the same time tragic as one wonders what might have been.
I was surprised at Mr. Nixon's book in that I was unsympathetic at the time with his handling of Vietnam and felt he was out of touch with the vast anti-war movement in the USA. I feel now that he was harshly judged and that he should be saluted for his untiring efforts to maintain freedom and democracy in Asia.
The best parts of the book are when he describes meetings with other world leaders and provide a fascinating insight into the process of diplomacy at the highest level of goverment.
The Watergate sections are complicated and one is left with the impression that he got into a hole and could'nt stop digging. Nixon's presidency deserves to be remembered for more than the disgrace of Watergate he displayed an abiltity in foreign relations and diplomacy that kept the world safe and laid the foundations for the eventual triumph of democracy in Europe.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the machinations of high politics and anyone who wishes an insight into a turbulent period in American history.
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