The most recommended Richard Nixon books

Who picked these books? Meet our 27 experts.

27 authors created a book list connected to Richard Nixon, and here are their favorite Richard Nixon books.
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Book cover of The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy

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

From my list on recent books about Richard Nixon.

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. 

Geoff's book list on recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Why did Geoff 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…


Book cover of The Nixon Tapes: 1973

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

From my list on recent books about Richard Nixon.

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. 

Geoff's book list on recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Why did Geoff 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 Gerald R. Ford: The 38th President, 1974-1977

Scott Kaufman Author Of Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party: A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford

From my list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

Who am I?

When I was 16 years old, my father, Burton Kaufman, who is also a historian, took me to the Jimmy Carter Library in Georgia to help him research a book on America's thirty-ninth president. Having had a love of history since the sixth grade, that trip deepened my desire to major in History in college and teach it as a profession. It also made me interested in learning more about the presidency, starting with Carter. Several years ago, I edited a series of essays on both the Ford and Carter presidencies, and realized there was need for an in-depth political biography of our thirty-eighth chief executive. The result was my book on Ford.

Scott's book list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford

Scott Kaufman Why did Scott love this book?

There are a number of studies of Ford’s presidency, but there are two reasons why I picked Brinkley’s. First, his was the first book published following Ford’s passing and, consequently, the first full biography of the thirty-eighth president. Second, Gerald R. Ford is part of a series on the presidents published by The New York Times that are specifically aimed at a general audience. While each of the books is short and, therefore, selective insofar as coverage, they are well-written and informative.

By Douglas G. Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gerald R. Ford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis

When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.

Many people today think…


Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

From my list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective.

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.

Christopher's book list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

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.

By Henry Haller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White House Family Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 250 First Family recipes; a historic treasury of American cooking. Chef Haller entertains with tidbits of presidential lore and his memories of life upstairs and down. 8 pages of color photos.


Book cover of Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

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.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

Had Nixon not taped himself in secret, it is doubtful that he would have been forced to resign as president of the United States. While some of the most incriminating tapes were released as a result of a Supreme Court order, the remainder became the subject of a long legal tussle that continued for several decades. Nobody did more to secure the full release of the tapes than the historian Stanley Kutler who published highlights in his 1997 book, Abuse of Power. The tapes provide a unique insight into the functioning of the modern-day presidency, and Nixon's own personality, that is unlikely ever to be matched. Thanks to Kutler's efforts, we are able to hear Nixon in his own words and feel his pain and bewilderment as his world disintegrates around him.

By Stanley I. Kutler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Abuse of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No President has taped Oval conversations so thoroughly or found himself in as much trouble as Richard Nixon. He and his heirs fought for years to keep hours of these sensitive recordings from ever being released. Now Stanley I. Kutler, an emminent historian and one of the principle parties to the lawsuit that forced the tapes release, has edited and annotated every tape concerning abuses of power from Nixon's entire presidency. Among the breathtaking revelations are evidence of Nixon's direct role in the obstruction of justice during the 'Watergate' investigation to the proposal for a $5 million scheme to secretly…


Book cover of His Picture in the Papers: A Speculation on Celebrity in America Based on the Life of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Landon Y. Jones Author Of Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

From my list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by celebrities and heroes ever since I was a child. That compulsion became something I wanted to understand. I got my chance as the head editor of People magazine. Over the years, I met more than my share of celebrities – Ronald Reagan, Tom Hanks, Malcolm X, and Princess Diana, to name only a few. I began to take notes about my brushes with fame and think about celebrities in history and why they have recently become so dominant in our culture. Celebrity Nation is the result. Enjoy it!

Landon's book list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America

Landon Y. Jones Why did Landon love this book?

When I decided to write about celebrity, I knew from the beginning that I would depend on Richard Schickel’s His Picture in the Papers.
Schickel was the former movie reviewer for both LIFE and TIME magazines, and I used simply enjoy his perceptive insights when I also worked at TIME.
Schickel uses the case study of the charismatic Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. to show how his celebrity was generated by his image reproduced in movies, magazines, and newspapers.

Schickel later wrote Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity in America, which further discussed how celebrity images have replaced the value of ideas in American culture.

By Richard Schickel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked His Picture in the Papers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Schickel, Richard


Book cover of Pat Nixon: The Untold Story

Mary C. Brennan Author Of Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady

From my list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat.

Who am I?

I became a historian because I am nosy. I like to know what is going on in other people’s lives. I study politics because I am fascinated by power—who has it? How did they get it? I took up this project not knowing much about First Ladies or Pat Nixon. My quest to know more led to the correspondence between Pat and her closest friend. The letters in these files allowed me to hear Pat’s voice describe her life as a politician’s wife, as Second Lady, and as a regular citizen. I feel privileged to be able to share that with the world.

Mary's book list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat

Mary C. Brennan Why did Mary love this book?

This is a daughter’s tribute to her mother. Because Pat left few journal entries and a limited number of letters, Julie’s book is the closest we can get to understanding Pat’s perspective. Julie not only loved her mother; she respected her.  Both the love and the respect are apparent throughout. If there were times, I sometimes shook my head in disbelief over Julie’s sometimes naivete, I forgave her in gratitude for the insights into her mother’s life.

By Julie Nixon Eisenhower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The remarkable biography of Pat Nixon, the wife of former president Richard Nixon, as told by her daughter Julie Nixon-Eisenhower. Throughout the pages Julie describes her mother as a devoted, loyal, courageous, and remarkable woman who served as the quintessential First Lady. It's through Nixon's "grit" that enabled her to remain "onward and upward" during her struggling days as a student in the Depression, to the nightmares of the Watergate scandal.

An inspiring read, this electronic copy of the popular book celebrates the centennial anniversary of Pat Nixon's life and is told with love, affection, and admiration.

From Publishers Weekly…


Book cover of Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth of Modern Comedy

John Corcelli Author Of Outside Looking In: The Seriously Funny Life and Work of George Carlin

From my list on the most creative artists of our time.

Who am I?

I’m a student of biography. Artists, musicians, and comedians are what I read about. I crave to know what makes a great artist tick, how their ideas develop, and why they choose to pursue their craft at huge personal expense. I’m motivated to write more of my own. These biographies are informative, entertaining, and engaging reads, well worth your time. It’s a challenging and frustrating process to tell an artist’s story. Yet their roots, their influences, and how they shake up popular culture make for greater insight into our humanity. Artists take risks and I’m always impressed by the boldness of their vision.

John's book list on the most creative artists of our time

John Corcelli Why did John love this book?

Interested in learning more about the life and times of Mort Sahl? Then look no further! Curtis does a remarkable job of putting Sahl’s life and work into historical context, a key to understanding the evolution of stand-up comedy after 1950. The story of Sahl is the story of every comedian who wanted to speak truth to power in a funny way. Sahl shaped the style of George Carlin, Woody Allen, and David Steinberg. Curtis pays tribute to the comedian and the artistic legacy he left us. It was an important resource for my study of George Carlin.

By James Curtis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On December 22, 1953, Mort Sahl (b. 1927) took the stage at San Francisco's hungry i and changed comedy forever. Before him, standup was about everything but hard news and politics. In his wake, a new generation of smart comics emerged-Shelley Berman, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Lenny Bruce, Bob Newhart, Dick Gregory, Woody Allen, and the Smothers Brothers. He opened up jazz-inflected satire to a loose network of clubs, cut the first modern comedy album, and appeared on the cover of Time surrounded by caricatures of some of his frequent targets such as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Adlai Stevenson,…


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

Ethan Turer Author Of The Next Gold Rush: The Future of Investing in People

From my list on how past events will impact our future.

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember I’ve been curious about history and how past events connect to our present; And how challenging it is to predict the future, even with all our advanced technologies. In the internet era, everything seems to be changing faster than ever before. I’m no expert, but I do know that if we don’t try to understand all the pieces of this complex puzzle, we’ll never be able to build the future we want. I don’t want to be left behind, so my book is an attempt at understanding the past and outlining a future of investing in people, the most undervalued asset class.

Ethan's book list on how past events will impact our future

Ethan Turer Why did Ethan love this book?

I love this book on many levels. Utopia is always just out of reach but with the scale of time, one could argue that we’re currently living in a utopia.

Even if we don’t have flying cars, more people have opportunities and access to resources than ever before in recorded history.

This book is for optimists and pessimists alike, as the author does a great job addressing the current issues we face and outlining a future worth building. A future of Universal Basic Income (UBI) and no national borders, where opportunities are shared more equitably.

If everyone read this book I know we’d be one step closer to reaching utopia.

By Rutger Bregman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Utopia for Realists as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Universal basic income. A 15-hour workweek. Open borders. Does it sound too good to be true? One of Europe's leading young thinkers shows how we can build an ideal world today.

"A more politically radical Malcolm Gladwell." -- New York Times

After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don't need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn't be this way -- and in some places it isn't. Rutger Bregman's TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. A quarter of a million views later, the…


Book cover of Mamie Doud Eisenhower: The General's First Lady

Mary C. Brennan Author Of Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady

From my list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat.

Who am I?

I became a historian because I am nosy. I like to know what is going on in other people’s lives. I study politics because I am fascinated by power—who has it? How did they get it? I took up this project not knowing much about First Ladies or Pat Nixon. My quest to know more led to the correspondence between Pat and her closest friend. The letters in these files allowed me to hear Pat’s voice describe her life as a politician’s wife, as Second Lady, and as a regular citizen. I feel privileged to be able to share that with the world.

Mary's book list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat

Mary C. Brennan Why did Mary love this book?

Although the sections directly discussing Pat are limited, I found this book very useful. Holt offers a view of another presidential marriage that was contemporaneous and interactive with the Nixons. Mamie was a role model for Pat and Holt was one for me. Holt provided me with a roadmap for dealing with sensitive issues within a marriage and a presidency.

By Marilyn Irvin Holt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mamie Doud Eisenhower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was fitting for a soldier's wife to make curtains out of military-surplus parachutes. That they would hang in the White House made little difference. Mamie Doud Eisenhower was a president's wife who seemed to most Americans like the friend next door. She gave us ""Mamie pink"" and ""Mamie bangs"" but has stood in the shadows of first ladies who followed. Yet she accomplished more than even her own contemporaries noticed, and her popularity not only enhanced her husband's presidency but also put a distinctive stamp on the role of first lady. This first scholarly biography of Mamie Eisenhower draws…