The best Richard Nixon books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Richard Nixon and why they recommend each book.

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America's Stolen Narrative

By Robert Parry,

Book cover of America's Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama

This is an encyclopedia for anybody who wants to doublecheck the official version of events in US history starting from George Washington all the way through the presidencies of Nixon, the two Bushes, and Barak Obama. Investigative journalist Robert Parry worked for Associated Press and Newsweek on the Iran-Contra affair and spent years on the October Surprise, that cost President Jimmy Carter a second term. If you want to understand the role of the arms industry on US foreign policy since World War II, this is a great start. Or as President Eisenhower put it in his farewell address: “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”


Who am I?

I was researching the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme when I came across the private archive of author Stieg Larsson. After eight years of research, my book The Man Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin was published, which shines new light on the conspiracy behind the unsolved murder. The book has been translated into 27 languages. My first book Gripen by Prague exposes corruption by Saab and BAe in connection with the sale of supersonic jet fighters to the Czech Republic. In the aftermath of the book, police investigations were opened in seven countries including the US and the UK.


I wrote...

The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

By Jan Stocklassa,

Book cover of The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

What is my book about?

When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been working on a true mystery that out-twisted his Millennium novels: the assassination on February 28, 1986, of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. It was the first time in history that a head of state had been murdered without a clue who'd done it--and on a Stockholm street at point-blank range.

Internationally known for his fictional villains, Larsson was well acquainted with their real-life counterparts and documented extremist activities throughout the world. For years he'd been amassing evidence that linked their terrorist acts to what he called "one of the most astounding murder cases" he'd ever covered. Larsson's archive was forgotten until journalist Jan Stocklassa was given exclusive access to the author's secret project.

In The Man Who Played with Fire, Stocklassa collects the pieces of Larsson's true-crime puzzle to follow the trail of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy begun by one of the world's most famous thriller writers. Together they set out to solve a mystery that no one else could.

All the President's Men

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward,

Book cover of All the President's Men

I know, I know...non-fiction. But as far as I’m concerned, definitely still a thriller, and to this day, the quintessential political scandal. There are so many iconic facets to the story: the anonymous whistleblower Deep Throat’s invocation to follow the money; Woodward and Bernstein’s dogged refusal to drop the story, even when all appeared to be lost; the slow burn of revelation upon revelation.

This wasn’t about car chases and guns. It was about paper trails and getting sources on the record. 

The bravery of that never left me, and was always in my mind while writing my book.


Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with political thrillers since reading All The President’s Men when I was far too young to understand it all. What I did know was that at the upper echelons of society there were often shadowy conspiracies at play, and brave souls fighting to expose the truth. Something about Woodward and Bernstein’s quiet heroism and bravery in investigating a story that everyone told them to drop really stayed with me. That’s why I write political thrillers: in an attempt to tip the scales back in favour of good versus evil. And to make heroes of those who risk it all to tell truth to power.


I wrote...

Official Secrets

By Andrew Raymond,

Book cover of Official Secrets

What is my book about?

After a devastating political assassination, two journalists stand between the truth and a conspiracy that will shock the world.

Tom Novak and Stella Mitchell are covering the aftermath of a chilling terror attack on the British Prime Minister and the US Secretary of Defense. But the further the American and English duo investigate, the more holes they find in the official version of events. When they link the attack to a series of suspicious deaths the night before, Novak and Mitchell find themselves the next targets in an extraordinary conspiracy involving the White House, the British government, and a shadowy deep-state organization. On the run for their lives, Novak and Mitchell will find out just how far those in power are willing to go to preserve their secrets...

Five Presidents

By Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin Hill,

Book cover of Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

Clint Hill’s legacy is his courageous action in the presidential motorcade during the JFK assassination. His career and mine overlapped. We address events occurring during the same era but from different perspectives. His as a Secret Service Agent on protective details and mine as an FBI Agent investigating criminal cases and personally assisting J. Edgar Hoover who worked under eight presidents and sixteen attorneys general. Hill had to be politically correct under all circumstances while I could get away with a blurred PC often to solve a criminal case. At times, our observance of historic events varied—but again we viewed them relative to our positions.


Who am I?

My entire fifty-year professional life has been dedicated to law and order, investigating crime and corruption at its highest levels in government and the private sector. I’ve worked on hundreds of cases together with local, state, and federal law enforcement. Also, internationally with Scotland Yard, GSG9, New South Wales, and the Soviet KGB. There is deep gratification in taking the “bad” guy off the street, protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I have a law degree and am an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law looking forward in contributing to winning the battle of “equality for all” in the justice system.


I wrote...

The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover

By Paul Letersky, Gordon L. Dillow,

Book cover of The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover

What is my book about?

From the 1920’s “Palmer Raids” and later during the ’60s and ’70s with a backdrop of the Vietnam War, protests, riots, and domestic terrorism ravaged most cities. Political assassinations and corruption found their way to the highest levels of government,

I was there in the late ’60s; a member of J. Edgar Hoover’s personal office staff. Meeting with icons and legends, setting up appointments with dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians; witnessing Hoover’s reaction when I informed him of the shooting of Martin Luther King. Bits of untold history unfolded daily as we became privy to the quid pro quo of political poker as played in Washington. There were internal politics and serious national events, often interrupted by the quirky demands of the Director.

In the Arena

By Richard Nixon,

Book cover of In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal

President Nixon had many successes and failures during his life, in his book he shares personal details of his celebrations and anguishes, such extremes for anyone to endure. I had the pleasure of meeting President Nixon on his first solo return to the White House in 1987, for a meeting with President Reagan.


Who am I?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.


I wrote...

White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

By Christopher Beauregard Emery,

Book cover of White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

What is my book about?

White House Usher: “Who Killed the President?” is a historical fiction mystery novel that takes place in one of the more unique settings in existence: the White House executive residence, home of the First Family. Murder, romance, deceit, and a suspenseful struggle all ensue as the main character struggles to solve the case. The author uses his in-depth knowledge of White House history and the inner workings of the private residence to create a thrilling murder mystery from an insider’s perspective.

The Haldeman Diaries

By H.R. Haldeman,

Book cover of The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House

There was no one closer to Richard Nixon as Watergate unfolded than his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. Every evening, Haldeman dictated an audio diary that is an essential source for understanding the Nixon presidency and the chain of events that led to its unraveling. While Haldeman admired Nixon, he was also well aware of his faults. He records the triumphs, failures, and personal quirks of his boss on an almost minute-to-minute basis. I think that Haldeman has it right when he concludes that Nixon did not know about Watergate in advance, in the sense that he did not order the break-in, but certainly caused it, in the sense that he created the culture that spawned all the abuses. Ultimately, these abuses led to Haldeman's own resignation and eighteen months in prison for Watergate-related offenses.


Who am I?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.


I wrote...

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

By Michael Dobbs,

Book cover of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

What is my book about?

I wrote King Richard as the Shakespearean tale of the leader who made himself- and then destroyed himself. Another journalist, Theodore White, wrote a series of acclaimed books titled The Making of the President, but how often does one get to tell the even more remarkable story of the unmaking of a president, from the inside, as it happened? In January 1973, Richard Nixon had just been inaugurated after winning re-election in a historic landslide. By April 1973, his presidency had fallen apart as the Watergate scandal metastasized into a full-blown cancer, in the phrase of White House counsel John Dean. I take readers behind the scenes in the White House to relive the tension-packed hundred days when the Watergate burglars and their handlers turned on one another in a desperate attempt to defect blame. At the center of the drama is Nixon himself, a man whose strengths, such as his determination to win at all costs, became his fatal flaws.

Utopia for Realists

By Rutger Bregman,

Book cover of Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World

I read this book while on a fellowship in Germany. Needing to lighten my luggage, I left it in the apartment I had rented. When I returned a year later, it was still there. With less to carry that time, I happily took it back. Bregman pulls no punches in how we get to a better world, and he knows that implementing his recommendations will require considerable political courage and persuasion. Eradicate poverty and give people time to achieve their potential – through a universal basic income, a shorter work week, higher taxes on those whose jobs hurt the public good (Elon Musk, he’s talking to you), and reductions in military spending – and many other problems will solve themselves. 


Who am I?

I grew up wandering farmers’ fields looking for arrowheads, and I started working in archaeology at 16 – 50 years ago. I ski, snowshoe, run, and play piano, but I sold my soul to the archaeology devil a long time ago. I specialize in hunter-gatherers, and I’ve done fieldwork across the western US, ethnographic work in Madagascar, and lectured in many countries. I’ve learned that history matters, because going back in time helps find answers to humanity’s problems – warfare, inequality, and hate. I’ve sought to convey this in lectures at the University of Wyoming, where I’ve been a professor of anthropology since 1997. 


I wrote...

The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us about Our Future

By Robert L. Kelly,

Book cover of The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us about Our Future

What is my book about?

“I have seen yesterday. I know tomorrow.” This inscription in Tutankhamun’s tomb summarizes The Fifth Beginning. In it, we tour human history through four times – beginnings – when the character of human life changed: the emergence of technology, culture, agriculture, and the state. Each is signaled by a radical change in humanity’s archaeological footprint. Using that perspective, I argue that today is a fifth beginning, the result of a 5000-year arms race, capitalism’s ever-expanding reach, and a worldwide communication network. It marks the end of war, capitalism, and maybe the nation-state, and the beginning of global cooperation. It’s the end of life as we know it. But with humanity’s great potential to solve problems, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic. 

White House Family Cookbook

By Henry Haller,

Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

This book is written by, IMO, the best chef ever to have served at the White House. I was fortunate to have been Chef Haller’s boss during my time at the White House. Henry retired after 21 years of flawless service and worked in the Johnston, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. An incredible talent with a positive, pleasant temperament, everyone loved Chef Haller.


Who am I?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.


I wrote...

White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

By Christopher Beauregard Emery,

Book cover of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

What is my book about?

White House Usher: Stories from the Inside was published in October 2017, with a Second Edition released December 2020. The book is a memoir detailing the authors time managing the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. 

Foreword written by former First Lady Barbara Bush.

Richard Nixon

By John A. Farrell,

Book cover of Richard Nixon: The Life

In order to understand Watergate, you first have to understand Richard Nixon. This is the best, single-volume biography that chronicles Nixon's life in a balanced and fair way that gives us great insight into his character and motivations. Published in 2017, it is a model of its kind. Farrell attempts neither to vilify Nixon nor to defend him, but to explain him, in the context of his times. He gives us the extraordinary story of the self-made man from a struggling Quaker family in California who rose to the top through his own efforts - and then threw it all away through his own fatal flaws. Many of Nixon's gambles succeeded. Watergate was the one that failed.


Who am I?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.


I wrote...

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

By Michael Dobbs,

Book cover of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

What is my book about?

I wrote King Richard as the Shakespearean tale of the leader who made himself- and then destroyed himself. Another journalist, Theodore White, wrote a series of acclaimed books titled The Making of the President, but how often does one get to tell the even more remarkable story of the unmaking of a president, from the inside, as it happened? In January 1973, Richard Nixon had just been inaugurated after winning re-election in a historic landslide. By April 1973, his presidency had fallen apart as the Watergate scandal metastasized into a full-blown cancer, in the phrase of White House counsel John Dean. I take readers behind the scenes in the White House to relive the tension-packed hundred days when the Watergate burglars and their handlers turned on one another in a desperate attempt to defect blame. At the center of the drama is Nixon himself, a man whose strengths, such as his determination to win at all costs, became his fatal flaws.

The Man Who Kept the Secrets

By Thomas Powers,

Book cover of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms And The CIA

This is a great book about former CIA Director Richard Helms and the agency he directed.  Helms was the quintessential CIA man, and Powers tells the story of his 30-year career in spying in this beautifully written book, which somehow captures both Helms’ elusiveness and his essence.


Who am I?

John Marks is co-author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, a New York Times best-seller in hard-cover and paperback. He has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Playboy, Foreign Policy, and Rolling Stone. He was the founder and long-time President of Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest peacebuilding organization that was nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.


I wrote...

The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences

By John D. Marks,

Book cover of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences

What is my book about?

A "Manchurian Candidate" would be an unwitting assassin brainwashed and programmed to kill. In this award-winning book, I document in highly readable terms the explosive story of MKULTRA, the CIA's highly secret program of experiments in mind control.  I worked from thousands of pages of CIA documents as well as extensive interviews and research in the behavioral science to produce a book that, in the words of the late Senator Edward Kennedy "accomplished what two Senate committees could not."

Being Nixon

By Evan Thomas,

Book cover of Being Nixon: A Man Divided

Although Nixon has been our most disgraced president, pre-Trump, he (like LBJ) is a marvelously complicated study of a person with major strengths and weaknesses, and a refusal to be defeated by any obstacles or setbacks. Thomas is discerning in his understanding of what made his subject tick—which is quite an achievement.

Who am I?

Over the last eight years, I’ve conducted as many onstage interviews with leading presidential historians as anyone else in the country. To prepare for them, I read presidential biographies thoroughly and constantly. The fact that my work has been strongly endorsed by people in presidential history circles with the stature of Ken Burns, David McCullough, James Baker, Jon Meacham, and Douglas Brinkley should be a strong indication that my opinion about this subject matters.


I wrote...

Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer Gets Answers from the Experts about Our Presidents

By Talmage Boston,

Book cover of Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer Gets Answers from the Experts about Our Presidents

What is my book about?

Cross-Examining History contains the edited transcripts of my onstage interviews with leading presidential historians (on the order of David McCullough, Jon Meacham, Douglas Brinkley, David Maraniss, Evan Thomas, and H.W. Brands) and surviving presidential insiders (Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Lynda Johnson Robb, Andy Card, and others).

My questions attempted to get into the most engaging parts of the hearts and minds of our most significant presidents - - as to their entire lives as well as their years as national leaders. The answers of my interview partners expand our awareness of these presidents far beyond the conclusions reached in prior presidential biographies, and position readers to draw deeper conclusions about the performance of our past commanders-in-chief.

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