NIXON

AN ORAL HISTORY OF HIS PRESIDENCY

In the manner of their oral history of JFK's administration (Let Us Begin Anew, 1993), the Strobers present a vast miscellany of musings about Nixon and his administration by insiders, Cabinet members, and other contemporaries. Readers benumbed by the spate of books marking the 20th anniversary of Nixon's resignation will find the Strobers' undidactic approach to history refreshing. Asking, but never definitively answering, provocative questions such as ``Who ordered the Watergate break-in?'' and ``Why didn't Nixon destroy the tapes?,'' the Strobers simply allow Nixon administration principals, Watergate figures, and Nixon opponents to speak about the man and his turbulent presidency. The interviewees reflect on Nixon's election, his domestic and foreign policy achievements, the Pentagon Papers, the 1972 campaign, the second administration, and, especially, the Watergate scandal, Nixon's resignation, and his post-Watergate rehabilitation. For all their immediacy and apparent candor, however, the reminiscences do not shed new light on these subjects. For example, in a chapter asking why the Watergate break- ins were ordered, all of the interviewees, including John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy, profess ignorance or offer unsatisfying speculations, and Gerald Ford denies having considered pardoning Nixon prior to his resignation, although Ford acknowledges that the issue came up in a pre-resignation meeting with Alexander Haig. In conclusion, the interviewees speculate on Nixon in the post-Watergate era and on his legacy, with views ranging predictably from those, like former Nixon counsel Leonard Garment, who feel Nixon's policy achievements outweighed his failures, to those who, like Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, consider Nixon irrevocably tainted by Watergate: ``I think that Watergate stains his whole presidency. You can't avoid it; you can't write an obit about Willie Sutton and not talk about robbing a bank.'' Though hardly groundbreaking, this collection of interviews presents an engrossing portrait of Nixon and his troubled administrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-017027-1

Page Count: 608

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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