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The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews Paperback – May 27, 2008

2.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In 1977, three years after his resignation, Richard Nixon returned to the public eye in a series of interviews with British television journalist David Frost, for which Nixon received $1 million. Figuring his political and lawyerly skills were more than a match for Frost's interrogation, Nixon instead found himself doing exactly what his successor Gerald Ford had tried to prevent with a Presidential pardon: publicly admitting that he had broken the law. Reston, Jr. was one of the aides Frost hired to help him plan his line of attack; this book, written at the time of the interviews, is being published for the first time now (Reston has supplied a foreword and afterword), but it hardly reads like history. Instead, watching the comeuppance of a highly unpopular and divisive president will provide gratifying thrills for the politically disenchanted. Some references may fly by a modern audience's radar ("Ralph Abernathy pissing on the presidency"?), but Reston's passion for finding the chinks in Nixon's armor makes for fascinating reading.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A treasure trove of invaluable insights from an unimpeachable source. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Frank Langella, Tony Award nominee for Frost/Nixon

“Political history that reads like a thriller. Passionate, intelligent, entertaining, and human.”
—Michael Sheen, Evening Standard and Laurence Olivier Award nominee for Frost/Nixon

“A riveting account.”
—Richard Ben-Veniste, former chief of the Watergate Task Force

"Reston's memoir is a compact and gripping behind-the-scenes narrative focused on Frost's struggles to prepare for his encounter with the formidable Nixon. Reston captures Nixon's inner turmoil and myriad moods during the tapings.
Above all, the book sheds important light on Nixon's failure to rehabilitate his reputation after his 1974 resignation."
—Matthew Dallek, Washington Post


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307394905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307394903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,378,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard Donovan on June 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a fast and entertaining read. Reston writes that people wondered whether David Frost was up to confronting President Nixon about his Watergate deceptions as Frost was seen as something of a charming lightweight. Frost bore down and did his homework and the result was a stunning success for Frost. Richard Nixon during these interviews came as close as he ever would to admitting his role. The book unpacks Nixon's patterns of defensiveness and sheds light on the psychological machinations behind those patterns. While this may seem like material that's been exhausted over the years, the insights are fresh and interesting.

I have one point of disagreement with the author. He says the interviews finished off any change of a Nixon rehabilitation. While it's true that Nixon never again held elected or appointed office, he wrote a number of foreign policy books, visited with world leaders and gave solicited advice to Bill Clinton, among others. Americans love a comeback and Nixon did live to enjoy some measure of restoration. I'm sure this exceeded what even he thought possible.

I watched the interviews in 1977 as I was in my last year of college. This book brings back the intrigue and the drama.
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Format: Paperback
Wow, this guy really hates Richard Nixon. Regardless of how you view Watergate, Reston's bias is pretty obvious in the first few pages of the book. He also mocks Colson's Christianity (an act), and makes Nixon out to be a murderous dictator (Nixon's comment on carpet bombing, his involvement in secret wars in Laos and Cambodia,etc). In this book, it is evident that Frost and Reston showed that Nixon and his guys (Colson, Dean, Mitchell, Hunt) practiced a cover up of a botched break in. If Nixon had come clean early on, he may have been hurt politically, but the presidency would have been intact. Reston drones on how these crimes were clearly the most hurtful to American democracy, etc, and that every thinking American should have opposed Nixon. He also portrays Nixon as the worst type of leader and human. These later arguments did not convince me, as other reviewers clearly show. Nixon was a President who screwed up, and suffered his fate. Nixon's later books, and advice helped future presidents.

Again, this is an OK read about the Frost/Nixon interviews. If one can look past Reston's bias (big gulp), one might learn something about Watergate.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having followd the entire Watergate hearings in the 70's and read 4 subsequent books, I was expecting an exiting read - WRONG. The author exposes his bias right out the gate by slamming Bush's decition to go to war "under false pretenses". Then he proceeds to mock Colson's religious convictions. From there it's downhill all the way with most of the narrative outlining his personal brilliance. Too bad, the subject matter itself is interesting but history should be left to historians and not journalists. Luckly I only spent $4.00 on the book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Reston's experiences preparing David Frost for the Watergate segment of his Nixon interviews may have been exciting for the college professor, but his tale is disjointed and badly in need of citations. It appears his manuscript went to print unedited.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book and thought "what a good couple of evenings I am going to have reading this." Wrong. It is mainly author Reston letting us know how intelligent and coy he and the "clectic" group he assembled are-but mainly himself. A two page letter of reccomendation from his mother would have sufficed for the 207 pages of this book.
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