Monica Crowley served as a personal assistant to former president Richard M. Nixon from July 1990 until his death in April 1994. During that period, she maintained a private journal in which she recorded his utterances with transcriptive clarity (a trait she attributes to having written down each conversation immediately after it was concluded). In Nixon Off the Record
, she presented his views on political leadership and his opinions of specific leaders. In this sequel, she concentrates on Nixon's vision for America's foreign policy, which formed the basis of his attempts to influence the foreign policy of his successors, and his increasing awareness and acceptance of his own mortality.
Although Nixon in Winter is almost assuredly intended to portray Nixon's final years as a strong, ideologically committed statesman in semiexile, what often comes through is the image of a lonely old man suffering from frustration over his unintended legacy and reputation. Dismissing even those biographies which depict him positively, he worries, "I haven't written enough. Look at Churchill. He wrote volumes. Maybe I should write more." There's a certain wistfulness to Nixon waking Crowley up with a phone call at 7:15 A.M. or cooking chili out of the can for the two of them, serving it with grapefruit juice ("I find that it cuts the taste of the chili"). Nixon in Winter rounds out the public image of one of the 20th century's most controversial leaders with an unusually personal perspective.
From Publishers Weekly
In this plodding sequel to Nixon Off the Record (1996), Crowley, confidante, research consultant, travel companion and foreign policy assistant to the former president from 1990 until his death in 1994, records her conversations with him based on her daily diary. While her memoir contains few surprises in its admiring portrayal of Nixon as a farsighted politician and wise elder statesman, it presents him in his own authentic voice. He bristles with contempt at President Bush, whom he accuses of political overinvestment in Gorbachev, and praises Yeltsin as a progressive leader. Defending his Vietnam War policy as necessary to stop North Vietnam's expansionism, Nixon blames Congress's cutback of military funds as the reason America lost a winnable war. On Watergate, he wavers between defensive dismissal, acceptance of responsibility and blaming a press corps bent on retaliation because he unearthed Alger Hiss as a communist spy. Nixon chastises the American people for condoning Clinton's sexual infidelities, accuses Clinton of obstruction of justice in the Whitewater scandal, airs his scorn for intellectuals, expresses grief over his wife's death and discusses his wide readings ranging from Aristotle to Machiavelli. Author tour.
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