Nixon’s Gamble: How a President’s Own Secret Government Destroyed His Administration

Ray Locker. Globe Pequot/Lyons, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4930-0931-2
Locker, a USA Today investigative reporter focusing on politics and Congress, reconstructs the rise and fall of Richard Nixon. His well-conceived thesis is that Nixon believed the entrenched, self-interested forces of Washington—the national press corps, Congress, and the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon—were making it impossible for him to achieve his goals: reaching an arms agreement with the Soviets, establishing a détente with China, and ending the Vietnam War. Determined to succeed at any cost, Nixon stealthily created a shadow government adept at secret foreign policy initiatives. According to Locker, Nixon’s commitment to secrecy generated a culture of domestic spying, fostering the infamous break-ins, until “cover-up begat cover-up” and led to Nixon’s demise. Locker describes Nixon’s machinations in minute detail, and readers may be overwhelmed by the narrative’s parade of large and small players, but they will marvel at Nixon’s drive, paranoia, duplicity, and accomplishments. Surprisingly, while the unfolding of the world events makes for captivating reading, the debacles of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate seem like an old story. In Locker’s view, Nixon’s successes place him high in the pantheon of effective presidents, but his perfidy makes an equally compelling narrative of failure. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 352 pages - 978-1-4930-1945-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-7176-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-7178-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-7177-1
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