More than 20 years after the Watergate scandal that brought down his presidency, the character of Richard M. Nixon continues to fascinate us. Many books have been written about Nixon, and about Watergate, but perhaps none sheds so revealing a light on the late president as Stanley I. Kutler's Abuse of Power
. In the years following Watergate, as Nixon fought to rebuild his reputation from the ruins of his shattered presidency, he fought fiercely to suppress publication of most of the secret tapes that led to his downfall. During his lifetime, only about 60 hours of the almost 4,000 that exist were ever made public, and even after his death his estate continued to obstruct further releases. Then, in 1996, Kutler, along with the advocacy group Public Citizen, won a landmark decision to release the tapes.
Among other things, Abuse of Power definitively answers the question of whether Nixon was directly involved in raising hush money (he was) and suggests a reason for the burglary attempt at the Watergate Hotel (financial documents that might have linked the Democratic Party chairman to Howard Hughes). The tapes also reveal the vindictive and bigoted side to Nixon's personality, particularly as he discusses "killing" the Washington Post, and blames rich Jews for Billy Graham's tax problems. Abuse of Power only covers an additional 201 hours of tape of the near 4,000 that remain unreleased. It seems that the final chapter on Watergate has yet to be written.
From Library Journal
Nixon: "I can't believe that they can tie [Watergate] to me. What's your feeling?" H.R. Haldeman: "It'll be messy." Right. Twenty-five years after the existence of Nixon's secret White House tape recordings became known, Kutler sued for and won their release. The excerpts provided in this excellent production are a fine example of oral history at its most dramatic (see also Michael Beschloss's Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, Audio Reviews LJ 2/1/98). Actor William Windom captures the vocal expressions listeners associate with Nixon. The voices of Haldeman, John Erlichman, Henry Kissinger, John Dean, Alexander Haig, and Rose Mary Woods are rendered realistically by an ensemble company. The effect is riveting and brings the listener into the Oval Office with Nixon and the White House staff as they try to distance themselves from the firestorm of allegation being leveled at them from outside. By the end, even Nixon is referring to himself in the third person to separate himself from the inevitability of the official investigation. All libraries will want at least one copy of this production, especially those with a focus on 20th-century political history.?Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., Tex.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.