Top critical review
Not the complete package
9 July 2016
Slightly disappointing, especially considering the superb journalistic endeavours in acquiring the story. The book is very episodic and focuses on a series of narratives conducted around key documents in Butterfield's archive from his work as, basically, Nixon's office manager. There is little sense of the story being pieced together as a whole as the book is so item-led.
There is the strong feeling that Woodward is milking the former military man's memories for specific scoops rather than attempting to set down a solid biography.
There are some gems though, not least the revelation that after years of bombing south east Asia, Nixon concluded that the resulting benefits were "zilch", yet intensified the air raids anyway as public opinion by then believed such acts to be beneficial. This perhaps equals Nixon's ambush of the 1968 Paris peace talks due the threat to his election chances as the most despicable act of the soon to be impeached President. Interesting insights about Nixon but overall leaves the impression of a half finished book.