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Nixon in Winter : His Final Revelations about Diplomacy, Watergate, and Life out of the Arena Hardcover – June 1, 1998
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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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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My guess is that Nixon would not have approved of all that Ms. Crowley writes about although Ms. Crowley rationalizes that Nixon must have known that she would write about her experiences with him.
Crowley's Nixon seems obsessed with justifying most of the decisions and actions that he took in his political career, especially the Presidential years. While we will never know for sure, Ms. Crowley does seem very successful in capturing the parts of Nixon that we never saw in public especially his "obsession" with improving his presidential legacy.
What I found particularly interesting--and worth the read alone--is Nixon's continued belief, right up until he died,that he was absolutely right to continue U.S. involvement in Vietnam for the first four years of his presidency. Nixon shows continued contempt (even in the 1990s) for those who chose not to serve in this cause (with special hostility for President Bill Clinton, whose victory over the first George Bush personally affronts him). Nixon also had plenty of contempt for the Congress for not allowing President Ford to "save" the cause in 1975 when North Vietnam would finally prevail.
I'm not sure that even Ms. Crowley is aware of how successful she is in putting the reader through long bouts of pain for those of us who lived through the sixties and early seventies with her vivid description of Nixon's reflections of how he wanted to prevail over the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in South Vietnam in spite of the fact that this longest war in our history was tearing much of our country apart.
In fact, Ms. Crowley suggests that Mr. Nixon--even with hindsight--would unfortunately fight the Vietnam War in exactly the same way even though almost 20,000 more men died in a losing cause under "his watch"--most of whom were draftees.
So, if your politics need a passion fix--or if the old Nixon hostility has left you and you think you want it back--consider reading this old chestnut of a book and I promise you that you will get your political currents rejuvenated and approach today's current events with much more vigor and perception.