cover image The President’s Man: The Memoirs of Nixon’s Trusted Aide

The President’s Man: The Memoirs of Nixon’s Trusted Aide

Dwight Chapin. Morrow, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-307477-4

Chapin, who worked as a deputy assistant to Richard Nixon, debuts with an unconvincing apologetic that reflects on his time in Nixon’s White House. In 1962, Chapin, then a college student, started working for Nixon as a field organizer for his California gubernatorial campaign. He soon became close with the candidate and later joined Nixon’s White House staff as his appointments secretary, with an office next to the Oval. Chapin provides an insider’s perspective on what he deems the White House’s “ethical culture” and major developments of Nixon’s administration, including the ending of official American involvement in the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons negotiations with the Soviets, as well as significant domestic achievements that Chapin believes were obscured by the Watergate investigation. His revisionist take on the scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation, however, is troublesome. In addition to suggesting that the inquiry was the equivalent of a coup, Chapin—who was convicted of lying to a grand jury during the Watergate investigation—insists that Nixon did nothing to warrant his removal from office. To further erode his credibility, he evades responsibility for his own crimes, while admitting that he lied in a letter to a federal judge seeking an earlier release from prison (“I didn’t believe a word of what I had written”). There’s no shortage of books about the Nixon presidency, and this one brings little new to the table. Agent: Matt Latimer, Javelin Group. (Feb.)