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Nixon in Winter : His Final Revelations about Diplomacy, Watergate, and Life out of the Arena Hardcover – June 1, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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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Product Details

  • Series: Nixon in Winter (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679456953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679456957
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a biography. The author isn't distanced enough for that. And it is hardly a tribute, because the shadow of scandal never leaves the portrayal. I would say this book is a memoir of a young graduate student's intellectual travails with an aging Nixon. His story is very complicated, and his reflections, on politics, the end of the cold war, and scandal, are absolutely riveting. Nixon's evaluation of his own foibles mesmerizes. What does he say about Watergate, 20 years later? How does he think his mother, deceased by then, would have judged the events, and him? I won't spoil the story; it's well worth reading. The only part I was troubled by was the author's portrayal of herself. There's just the slightest hint of condescension for the old man. Fully armed with fresh graduate school knowledge of world affairs, she sees herself as the person who prodded Nixon into revelation. It seems a bit self-serving. Still, that's a minor qualm in a book that, perhaps unintentionally, creates sympathy and respect for the man. As presented here, he clearly is human and, in a way not seen in today's callow politicians, brilliant.
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Format: Hardcover
If one ever wonders what qualifies Monica Crowley to be a talk show host, if one ever questions what relevance her opinions or insight have for the rest of America, if one ever doubts that Monica Crowley is a qualified author, this work will provide a resounding affirmation of her talent, intelligence, and ability. Before WABC and before a Columbia Ph.D., there was only the college of Richard Nixon. Crowley traveled the globe with Nixon, soaking in every detail, every nuance of his intellect and capacity for foreign affairs and political strategy.
Concerning posterity, Nixon always knew when he spoke to or with Crowley that he was speaking to history. Nixon has already sought to rewrite his legacy in his memoirs RN as well as In the Arena. Nixon's qualifications are manifest in his own writings as well. Crowley does an excellent job of highlighting Nixon's capacity for political intelligence and machinations while simultaneously showing readers that Nixon is more than a one-dimensional paranoid recluse. Crowley feels obliged to mention Watergate because it figures into Nixon's legacy so prominently but she does not dwell on a low point in an otherwise important career. She also does an excellent job of showing that there are two sides to Nixon: the steely statesman who opened China, diffused tensions with the Soviet Union, and worked toward peace in the middle east (all coauthored with Henry Kissinger) as well as the man behind the myth, saddened by the death of his wife, concerned about the health of his new foreign policy assistant, and full of colorful tales about fellow political personalities from his time in office. It is at this point and at this separation where Nixon comes off as the "grandfather" type that Eisenhower seemed to personify to the average American forty years earlier.
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Format: Hardcover
As Crowley herself says, if history judges Nixon's presidency on the White House tapes and transcripts, he deserves a chance for his entire life to be judged on all of his life's activities, including his "winter". This book provides an extended view of Nixon in the last four years of his life.
A few of the reviewers here questioned whether Crowley's writings accurately recount Nixon's comments and confessions in an objective manner, and they wonder if he would have really opened up to her... My first take on this was a once powerful, now-fallen, guilt-ridden old man hires an attractive twenty-something female grad student - someone naïve and susceptible he can impress and dominate - to rewrite his legacy, gloss over his mistakes, and show how even after all that happened, he was indeed great. Did she - at this time in her life - have the necessary knowledge, historical context and maturity to discerningly ferret out, deduce and capture the real truth from Nixon's rhetoric?
Soon into the book, I began to realize these worries were moot, as conversations recounted by Crowley show the familiar arrogance, criticisms, paranoia, self-absorbtion and the meddling that are indeed vintage Nixon.
Nixon's musings on the collapse of Communism, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin were very interesting and provided a good review of a monumental set of events of world history. In fact, the first half of the book was a play-by-play of early 90s American-Soviet foreign policy with color commentary by Richard Nixon. So much so it became droll and I find myself skimming along to the sections on Vietnam and Watergate.
Part 3 focused on Nixon's reflections on Watergate.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I must first admit that I am a great admirer of President Nixon. It is a delight to read his candid thoughts from informal settings. I literally laughed out loud more than once. This books displays President Nixon's wonderful insights in ways that even he couldn't express through his own works. Being able to read his true inner thoughts in private settings without the sugar-coating that is necessary when speaking or writing for the public was a pure delight, not to mention educational. From the triumphs and failures of his presidency to current political scandal and policy to personal beliefs on life itself this book delivers President Nixon perhaps at his best. I found myself nodding in agreement time after time, whether it was in reading his refelective analysis of the Vienam War or his take on the Thomas Confirmation Hearings (by the way what the heck has happened to Arlen Specter since then. I have to believe that President Nixon would be as disappointed in him as I have been over the past year or so). Even the most adamant Nixon-hater would have a hard time putting this book down, for it does give everyone a look at the inner-man. And, I for one do not see how any unbiased reader could conclude upon reading this book that Nixon is the man that the press and others have attempted to make him out to be. Frustrated by the ignorance of the general public regarding the misconceptions about President Nixon this book has refreshed my memory with ample ammo to combat such misguided beliefs. The genuineness is fascinating, the opinions are entertaining and discerning. I couldn't put it down. 5 stars.
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