NIGHTMARE: The Underside of the Nixon Years by J. Anthony Lukas

NIGHTMARE: The Underside of the Nixon Years

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An enormous narrative of the dirty tricks, financial misconduct, subversive efforts and coverup attempts conducted by the Nixon forces. That it is a narrative, and not a catalogue, testifies to the journalistic ability of Lukas, former New York Times writer. As ""feature"" journalism, it also has the drawback of unspecified sources and imputations, and it holds to a view of Nixon's opponents and also his watchdogs, Haig and St. Clair, as men who finally found their principles. The frame for the story is the grand GOP defeat in the 1970 by-elections, which is said to have scared Nixon into clandestine operations, and the 1972 GOP success, which confirmed their efficacy. Lukas itemizes Nixon harassments from all sides--the effort to exploit Chappaquiddick against the Kennedys, the gross favoritism shown toward Republican minority businessmen, the literal arm-twisting of Martha Mitchell, the plant who got hold of Muskie's memos and speeches for a seven month period--plus, of course, the big transgressions, with special focus on Hunt, the former-or-was-he CIA agent. Lukas states that the CIA knew ali along about the Watergate burglary, and Helms promoted the Nixon cover-up. The noxious character of plumbers and CREEP managers comes through even more fully than in other accounts (Gordon Liddy--""a Nazi, but he's our Nazi,"" said an associate). Kissinger's amorality with respect to wiretapping and his superior is also underlined. However, the format of the book tends to jumble together Nixon's highest crimes against our most basic liberties with his tax-dodging and milk-producers' logrolling, so that the ""nightmare"" fades into a grey smudge which only covers the surface of the underside.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
ISBN: 0821412876
Publisher: Viking