I GAVE THEM A SWORD"": Behind the Scenes of the Nixon Interviews by David Frost
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I GAVE THEM A SWORD"": Behind the Scenes of the Nixon Interviews

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Frost's rippling excitement over his Big Project, the Nixon Interviews, doesn't cover up the sententiousness of his own role: he, Frost, will help to coax Richard Nixon to self-confrontation, truth, and contrition. He will do so with one eye on the historians and One eye on ratings and sales to advertisers. Before you get to the interviews nearly half the book is gone, taken up with the San Clemente negotiations on ground rules, the raising of capital, the selection of a staff, and the plotting of interview strategy. Checking security as N-day nears, Frost fancies himself in the ""cloak and dagger business."" There is even an inset where David Frost meets Tony Ulasewicz. (Remember Tony Ulasewicz?) Nixon begins with the Cambodia bombing, comparing his actions with Eisenhower's on the eve of Normandy. He finishes, the interviews completed, by ordering his manservant to ""Get the caviar the Shah sent us for Christmas, Manolo."" In between he expatiates on his domestic and foreign policy achievements; eventually the Watergate session is filmed and Frost, leading (as he sees it) the former President past evasions and dissimulations, past the ""technical defense"" Nixon at first offers, arrives at the monumental admission ""I let the country down."" Both men exhale deeply. ""It was a job begging to be done,"" says Frost of the Interviews and presumably that's true, no matter how hollow the result.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Morrow