NIXON AND ROCKEFELLER: A Double Portrait by Stewart Alsop
Kirkus Star


Email this review


This is an exceptionally penetrating, highly readable analysis of the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination for President. Not a biography nor an account of their careers this book concentrates on those episodes in the lives of the two men which shed some light on the kinds of men they are. Alsop begins by discussing the nature of the American politician and the backgrounds of the current crop of candidates. He examines the superficial impression which Nixon and Rockefeller convey and he points out the difference in style and approach to politics between the two men -- the difference between a professional partisan politician and a seeming amateur. It might be expected that the cool and remote Stewart Alsop would be more favorably disposed toward a less exuberant candidate than Nelson Rockefeller. He finds Nixon not only interesting but a likable human being. He admires the fact that Nixon makes no bones about being a politician and he finds that when Nixon talks about his favorite subject -- politics -- he talks extremely well. Alsop thinks that this is one reason why Nixon gets a better press than he once did. He suggests that Nixon has ""grown up"" and he points to the change in Nixon's political style since 1954 as obvious and on the record. At the same time he admits that ""there is something mechanical, something faintly inhuman about the man"". Alsop believes that Rockefeller's fabulous wealth, while not a liability, could be considered as a dubious asset and though he agrees with the general assessment of Rockefeller as a warm, friendly, self-confident, likable person he thinks that Rockefeller is a man who passionately wants to have his own way and who is willing to fight for it. Both men, he feels, would be ""strong"" presidents though Nixon would be a less conservative president than Rockefeller. In appendices Alsop includes A Talk With Nixon and a selection of excerpts from letters he received from the candidates' classmates.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday