COURAGE AND HESITATION: Notes and Photographs of the Nixon White House by Alien Drury

COURAGE AND HESITATION: Notes and Photographs of the Nixon White House

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Allen Drury, portrayer of congressional curmudgeons and other assorted Capitol Hill stereotypes, politely sniffs around all the White House crannies interviewing everyone from the butler to the top kick himself. The objective is an ""informal, relaxed, at times chatty"" glimpse of the President at mid-term, how he is faring, how his staff reacts to his decision-making style, who selects the wine for state dinners, all tied together with Fred Maroon's sweet photographs. Drury begins his White House visitations ""not unfriendly"" to Nixon and his gingerly probes do nothing to alter his attitude; he finds the President a shy, deliberately calm, self-contained, methodical person who ""loves the Presidency, true enough, but he loves it looking over his shoulder."" All of this has been reported many times before, most recently in Evans and Novak's new book Nixon in the White House (p. 846). The only mildly interesting political note (footnote) to emerge here is that White House staffers consider last year's Jordan flare-up as ""the most dangerous crisis"" the administration has yet faced -- ""The public does not know it yet, but we came very, very close to a major catastrophe in the Middle East,"" says General Haig, a Kissinger aide. Unfortunately, Drury's peek behind the lace curtain came before the China initiative and the Freeze, and it all seems very old hat when Erlichman or Chotiner discuss the President's game plan. Drury candidly states that this is a ""rather haphazard book,"" a completely accurate assessment; however, more than that, it is a creampuff bore. Possibly the author's past successes covering the Washington scene will stimulate good sales but that does not change the fact it's dreary, dreary, dreary.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday