This was all preamble for the career-ending move that would be Watergate, but not before Nixon had spilled the blood of...



Tricky Dick: The nickname that keeps proving itself does so once more here.

It’s no surprise to have confirmation, in a general way, that Richard Nixon was a master of the abuse of power, for which even Republicans haven’t quite forgiven him. It’s no surprise that Lyndon Johnson played a particularly vehement kind of hardball politics, as well. Nonetheless, Hughes, a researcher at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Presidential Recordings Program, turns up plenty of surprises in this careful analysis of tape recordings from both administrations. The kicker comes at the very beginning, as Nixon orders his lieutenants to break into the Brookings Institution in 1971: “I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.” The “it” was twofold: evidence of who leaked the Pentagon Papers and proof that Johnson was playing party politics with an effort, in 1968, to bring North Vietnam to the table by halting American bombings. The sneak who told Nixon about all that? Henry Kissinger, of course, who consulted with Johnson and staff about those very negotiations and who “gained Nixon’s trust by betraying theirs.” It does Johnson no credit to learn that he also was negotiating with Nixon, who supported LBJ’s war effort more than most Democrats did. The already thick plot soon turned into a morass, as Claire Chennault’s widow, known as “the Dragon Lady,” played both sides against the middle to do favors for the definitively corrupt South Vietnamese regime, earning the attentions of Nixon and company, to say nothing of assorted spooks and spies.

This was all preamble for the career-ending move that would be Watergate, but not before Nixon had spilled the blood of thousands of Americans for his own political calculations. And therein lies the biggest news delivered in this utterly newsworthy book: Nixon “played politics with peace to win the 1968 election,” and he got away with it.

Pub Date: July 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8139-3663-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Univ. of Virginia

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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