Subtitled A Political and Personal Portrait this biography by the political correspondent for the Herald Tribune Washington Bureau sheds more light on the Vice President's brief political background than on his character. To the questions, ""What kind of a man is Richard Nixon?"" and ""What kind of a president would he be?"", Mazo can only answer, as have others before him, that Nixon is a singularly complex person who is often underrated,that he has ""energy, brains, courage, gall, cunning, persuasiveness, a bent for rationalizing and compromise"" and that he has raised the Vice-Presidency to a full-time legislative-executive operation through his influence and adroit political craftsmanship. He traces Nixon's path from his youth in a California farming community, his Quaker and Methodist ancestry, his school years, marriage, the early political forays against Representative Voorhis in Calif., his successful manipulation of the Hiss investigation and the 1950 battle against the Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas for the Senate -- the campaign for which he has been most severely criticized and which was only equalled in hyperbole by Mrs. Douglas' conservative Democratic opponents in the primary. He reviews Nixon's '52 nomination, his impressive performance in turning the ""fund issue"" from a sure defeat into a victory, the '56 ""Dump Nixon"" movement initiated by his former mentor, Harold Stasson, the Vice-President's flawless conduct during Eisenhower's illnesses, the overseas tours -- most notably the failure of the mission to Caracas. Maxo's conclusion: ""Nixon would be a 'strong president' in the tradition of the two Roosevelts"" and that ""his administration would be conservative on domestic matters and internationalist in foreign affairs"". He includes a final chapter of Nixon's comments ""Off the Record"".