Unlike Earl Mazzo's book on Richard Nixon (Harper; p. 364) which purported to be an objective study, this analysis of the enigmatic politician stresses Nixon's abilities as a campaigner -- the area in which he has been most criticized. He reviews Nixon's youth and family background and raises questions about the Vice President's ethical dedication to Quakerism in view of his early innuendo- laden style of oratory. He deals at length with the campaigns against Voorhis in '46 and Helen Douglas in '50 in which Nixon impugned his opponents' integrity in shocking fashion. On the question of the exposure of the 1952 ""secret fund"" and the subsequent ""Checkers speech"" Costello recalls that no one ever attempted to deny the fact that the vice-presidential candidate did accept expense money from private interests and he finds this behavior incompatible with Senatorial disinterestedness. Topically he discusses Nixon's career as Congressman, Senator, his enlarged functions as Vice-President, his transition from party hatchet-man to the ""new Nixon"", his impeccable behavior during the President's coronary crisis and the overseas travel. Costello's conclusion: ""..if Nixon suggests a capacity for dedication it is not so much to ideals or principles in the abstract as it is to expediency and the tolls of the pragmatist"". And yet, in spite of the array of damaging evidence which he musters, the author is forced to admit, as have others before him, that the core of Nixon's beliefs escapes identification. Essentially then the enigma remains. William Costello is White House correspondent for the Mutual Broadcasting System and portions of this book have appeared serially in The New Republic.