BREACH OF FAITH: The Fall of Richard Nixon by Theodore H. White

BREACH OF FAITH: The Fall of Richard Nixon

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This bound-to-be-read exploration of the Nixon Presidency centers less around the mechanics of skulduggery than around the mind-set of Nixon and his administration. White underlines the poor-boy psychology that made Nixon not only a tax cheat but always a self-defined ""outsider"" from the Establishment after a childhood of no ice cream and a mother who was sometimes a scrubwoman, the competition with rich kids in college and a patronizing reception by Eisenhower and Rockefeller when he began knocking at the door. Thus the self-righteous all-American tone of his staff and their willingness to deploy ""the irregulars"" (including the ""psychotic"" Libby) against Democratic liberals. White--with his usual smooth tone of the detached insider--shows Nixon becoming more and more isolated and depressed as the cover-up expose proceeds, unable to mount a fight against inside opponents whom White lauds--the aristocratic Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson, even General Haig. Other leaders of the anti-Nixon push, like Peter Rodino and LeonJaworski are presented as gutsy little guys with no political axe to grind. The capper is the ""vulgarity and indecision"" of the published Nixon tapes--remaining support evaporates. One of White's emphases is the way the crisis of 1973-1974 was ""divorced from conventional politics"": as for the future, he says the Nixon debacle destroyed the cement of trust that keeps the U.S. from police rule, but something revivifying may yet come out of it. Another making of another president?

Pub Date: March 19th, 1975
Publisher: Atheneum