cover image Nixon Reconsidered

Nixon Reconsidered

Joan Hoff. Basic Books, $30 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-465-05107-6

Nixon was both the best and the worst of modern presidents, opines Hoff, who argues that Watergate clouded his substantial domestic achievements. In this closely argued reassessment, she criticizes his foreign policy accomplishments--only rapprochement with China remains intact--and profiles a president whose radical proposals for restructuring welfare and creating a national health insurance program remain relevant today, in her estimate. She also commends Nixon's expanded enforcement of affirmative action, bold reorganization of federal agencies and redistribution of power away from Congress and the federal bureaucracy toward state and local governments. Hoff, a professor of history at the University of Indiana, draws on her interviews with Nixon and his advisers, as well as recently released Nixon White House papers and tapes, to shed light on his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up, his tense relations with Henry Kissinger and his rationalizations and paranoid insecurities. (Aug.)