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

The Books I Picked & Why

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

By Dwight Chapin

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

Why 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. 


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

By Irwin F. Gellman

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

Why 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.


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The Nixon Tapes: 1973

By Douglas Brinkley

Book cover of The Nixon Tapes: 1973

Why 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. 


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

By Patrick J. Buchanan

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

Why 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.


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

By John Roy Price

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

Why 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.


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