The best recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Author Of The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President
By Geoff Shepard

Who am I?

I joined the Nixon administration as a White House Fellow upon Harvard Law School graduation in 1969, so I wasn’t part of Nixon’s 1968 campaign. I served for five years, rising to associate director of the Domestic Council and ending as deputy counsel on Nixon’s Watergate defense team. Given my personal involvement at the time, coupled with extensive research over the past fifteen years, I’m among the foremost authorities on the Watergate scandal, but essentially unknowledgeable about people and events preceding the Nixon presidency. My five recommended books have nicely fill that gap – principally by friends and former colleagues who were actually “in the arena” during those heady times. 

I wrote...

The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President

By Geoff Shepard,

Book cover of The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President

What is my book about?

The Nixon Conspiracy is a detailed and definitive account of the Watergate prosecutors’ internal documents uncovered after years of painstaking research in previously sealed archives. Shepard reveals the untold story of how a flawed but honorable president was needlessly brought down by a corrupt, deep state, big media alliance — a circumstance that looks all too familiar today. In this hard-hitting exposé, Shepard reveals the real smoking gun: the prosecutors’ secret, but erroneous, “Road Map” which caused grand jurors to name Nixon a co-conspirator in the Watergate cover-up and the House Judiciary Committee to adopt its primary Article of Impeachment.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The President's Man: The Memoirs of Nixon's Trusted Aide

Why did I love this book?

Dwight Chapin joined former Vice President Richard Nixon’s staff in 1962, in connection with his unsuccessful California gubernatorial run. He functioned as Nixon’s personal aide for the next decade, spending hours and hours as his “body man.” I knew and worked with Dwight for the four years of Nixon’s first term as president, but worked on domestic policy initiatives and never had the “face time” with the President that he did.

Dwight’s book reflects fifty years of musings about one of our greatest presidents, yet one who resigned in disgrace because of Watergate. His stories, his insights, and his understandings of our 37th President are without parallel. 

By Dwight Chapin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The President's Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In time for the 50th anniversary of President Nixon's epic trips to China and Russia, as well as his incredible Watergate downfall, the man who was at his side for a decade as his aide and White House Deputy takes readers inside the life and administration of Richard Nixon.

From Richard Nixon's "You-won't-have-Nixon-to-kick-around-anymore" 1962 gubernatorial campaign through his world-changing trips to China and the Soviet Union and epic downfall, Dwight Chapin was by his side. As his personal aide and then Deputy Assistant in the White House Chapin was with him in his most private and most public moments. He…

Book cover of Campaign of the Century: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960

Why did I love this book?

Gellman is a nationally-recognized historian, whose writings reflect thorough and insightful research. His earlier books – on Nixon’s time in Congress (The Contender) and as Eisenhower’s vice president (The President and the Apprentice) – meticulously debunked derogatory stories about Nixon, and this one on the 1960 campaign does the same. Many believe Theodore White’s Making of the President,1960 is the only authoritative account of that contest, but Gellman points out how White set out to idolize Kennedy and villainize Nixon – never once actually speaking to Nixon, either during or following the campaign. Gellman is an excellent writer, putting his readers right in the center of historic events. His final chapter, bringing the campaign all together is simply outstanding.

By Irwin F. Gellman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Campaign of the Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on massive new research, a compelling and surprising account of the twentieth century's closest election

"[Gellman] offers as detailed an exploration of the 1960 presidential race as can be found."-Robert W. Merry, Wall Street Journal

"A brilliant work . . . the research is absolutely phenomenal . . . This book should receive every accolade the publishing industry can give it, including the Pulitzer Prize."-John Rothmann, KGO's "The John Rothmann Show"

The 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon is one of the most frequently described political events of the twentieth century, yet the accounts to…

The Nixon Tapes: 1973

By Douglas Brinkley,

Book cover of The Nixon Tapes: 1973

Why did I love this book?

Because of the secret taping system that recorded Nixon’s conversations from February 1971 to the system’s exposure in July 1973, President Nixon’s time in office is better documented than that of any other president, before or since. But the system itself was hardly ideal for researchers. Separate recorders were placed in the Oval Office, as well as in the Cabinet Room, the President’s EOB hide-away office, and even in Aspen Lodge at Camp David. The result is some 3,700 hours of recordings, almost haphazardly located on dozens of four-inch tape reels. Professor Luke Nichter is the nation’s foremost authority on these tapes, hosting his own website. This book, along with the earlier volume on 1972 tapes, does a masterful job of sorting out and analyzing these presidential conversations. The result is an incredibly helpful account of presidential decision-making, with first-hand detail unmatched by any other presidency. 

By Douglas Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nixon Tapes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A revealing selection . . . [a] heroic service.” — New York Times Book Review

“Endlessly fascinating . . . Essential for students of late-twentieth-century history and the American presidency.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] monumental effort . . . Astonishing.” — Austin American-Statesman

Between 1971 and 1973, President Richard Nixon’s voice-activated tape recorders captured 3,700 hours of conversations. Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter’s intrepid two-volume transcription and annotation of the highlights of this essential archive provides an unprecedented and fascinating window into the inner workings of a momentous presidency.
                The Nixon Tapes: 1973 tells the concluding chapter of the story,…

Book cover of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority

Why did I love this book?

Pat Buchanan joined Nixon’s staff in 1966 and was the conservative guru on his White House staff throughout Nixon’s terms in office. Totally written off for dead after his 1962 loss to Edmund “Pat” Brown as California’s governor, Nixon remerged to be sworn in as our 37th President in January 1969 – and Pat was with him every step of the way. This book is Buchanan’s insider account of how that recovery was planned, executed, and ultimately achieved. Its stories reflect lessons and insights for everyone interested in national campaigns. I served alongside Pat in the Nixon White House, but this volume fills in intimate details of Nixon’s wilderness years – before he took the oath of office.

By Patrick J. Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greatest Comeback as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick J. Buchanan, bestselling author and senior advisor to Richard Nixon, tells the definitive story of Nixon's resurrection from the political graveyard and his rise to the presidency.

After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and…

Book cover of The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy

Why did I love this book?

John Price is a liberal Republican, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, but choosing to self-identify today as a moderate. This book details his political coming to age, including being co-founder of the Ripon Society. Following Nixon’s 1968 election, Price joined his White House staff as one of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s deputies, serving as director of the Urban Affairs Council. Nixon attended twenty-one of its twenty-three Cabinet Room meetings. Nixon was adamantly anti-Communist, but what John shows is that, far from being a die-hard conservative, his approach to governing was that of a pragmatist, asking how best can the government help to address this issue? John and I served on the same Domestic Council but were assigned different public policy responsibilities. I’m impressed by his personal story – and by his political insights.

By John Roy Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Liberal Republican as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Last Liberal Republican is a memoir from one of Nixon's senior domestic policy advisors. John Roy Price-a member of the moderate wing of the Republican Party, a cofounder of the Ripon Society, and an employee on Nelson Rockefeller's campaigns-joined Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and later John D. Ehrlichman, in the Nixon White House to develop domestic policies, especially on welfare, hunger, and health. Based on those policies, and the internal White House struggles around them, Price places Nixon firmly in the liberal Republican tradition of President Theodore Roosevelt, New York governor Thomas E. Dewey, and President Eisenhower.

Price makes a…

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