Imbued with both remarkable triumph and unprecedented scandal, the legacy of Richard Milhous Nixon is one of the most complex and enduring of all former U.S. Presidents. In this feature-length special, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® takes a fresh look at one of Americas most controversial leaders more than thirty years after his infamous resignation. Drawing on previously unseen footage and only recently released audio tapes, NIXON: A PRESIDENCY REVEALED sheds new light on the man who brought both progress and shame to the presidential office. Some of his greatest achievements included ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War; forging historic peacekeeping relations with the Soviet Union, China, and the Middle East; and implementing innovative social and environmental initiatives at home. However, Nixons accomplishments were ultimately overshadowed by his secrecy, lies, and gross abuse of power, which undermined Americas faith in the integrity of the presidency.
One of America's most tragically flawed statesmen is comprehensively profiled in Nixon: A Presidency Revealed, an excellent History Channel documentary first broadcast in February 2007. The major strength of this 94-minute exposé lies in the number of high-ranking officials who are interviewed on the subject of Richard M. Nixon, his ill-fated presidency (1968-74), and its impact on American politics and society. Peabody Award-winning director David C. Taylor assembled an impressive lineup of participants who had a front-row seat to Nixon's rise and precipitous fall; included are Alexander Haig (Nixon's chief of staff during the Watergate scandal); former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Nixon's former deputy assistant Alexander Butterfield; former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; and both John Dean and Charles Colson, whose roles in the Watergate cover-up are starkly contrasted with their own latter-day perspectives on Nixon's darkest hours. The film's other noteworthy asset is its access to previously unavailable film footage, documents, and audio tapes that dig deeper into Nixon's psyche than any previous documentaries were able to.
More than three decades after Nixon resigned in disgrace, A Presidency Revealed lives up to its title by showing Nixon as a deeply insecure and introverted leader whose most revolutionary achievement (his re-opening of diplomatic relations with China) was darkly overshadowed by his penchant for rampant paranoia and deeply held resentments toward those he placed on his notorious list of "enemies." And while Nixon can justifiably be remembered as a progressive peacemaker ("too liberal" to be electable today, says former senator Bob Dole), this riveting program doesn't flinch when examining the secrecy, lies, cover-ups, and other abuses of power that led to Nixon's downfall. Better yet, this highly recommendable DVD also includes the 2000 History Channel program Inside the Presidency: Eisenhower vs. Nixon, an equally insightful examination of Nixon's vice presidency under Eisenhower in the 1950s--a turbulent and unflattering relationship (toward Nixon) that fostered Nixon's later, distrusting behavior in the Whit House. Taken together, these must-see programs are outstanding primers on the acquisition and abuse of political power, and both represent History Channel programming at its finest. --Jeff Shannon