Before The Fall: An Inside View Of The Pre-Watergate White House

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Transaction Publishers, Apr 1, 2005 - Political Science - 704 pages

William Safire was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon from 1968 to 1973. During that time, as a Washington insider, Safire was able to observe the thirty-seventh president in his entirety: as noble and mean-spirited; as good and bad; as a man desirous of greatness. Rarely has there been a White House memoir more intimate or revealing in its exploration of the great events that took place "before the fall" of Watergate. In this anecdotal history, Nixon and his associates come alive, not as caricatures, but as men with high and low purpose: Henry Kissinger, William Rogers, H. R. (Bob) Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, and Arthur Burns struggle not just for power, but for ideals.

As William Safire says in his Prologue: "In this memoir, which is neither a biography of [Nixon] nor an autobiography of me nor a narrative history of our times, there is an attempt to figure out what was good and bad about him, what he was trying to do and how well he succeeded, how he used and affected some of the people around him, and an effort not to lose sight of all that went right in examining what went wrong." The book is divided into ten sections, in which run three main themes: the President, the Partisan, and the Person. As a president, Safire discusses Nixon and the Vietnam War, foreign policy, economics, and race relations. As a partisan, he discusses Nixon's attempt to form an alignment across party lines, successful in many respects before the president tolerated the excesses that eventually corrupted his administration. And as a person, Safire finds that Nixon was a mixture of Woodrow Wilson, Machiavelli, Theodore Roosevelt, and Shakespeare's Cassius--an idealistic conniver evoking the strenuous life while he thinks too much.

This paperback edition of a classic primary source for historians includes a new introduction by its author. Studded with direct quotations that put the reader in the room where history was being made, Before the Fall is a realistic, shades-of-gray study of the Nixon years.

William Safire joined the New York Times in 1973 as a political columnist, where he also writes a Sunday column, "On Language," about grammar, usage, and etymology. The author of several books including Freedom, Full Disclosure, and Scandalmonger, he is the winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and served nine years as a member of the Pulitzer Board.

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Contents

PROLOGUE
3
1 TWENTY BROAD STREET
21
2 DEAR NELSON
28
3 TURNING POINT
34
4 WASHIN DIRTY DISHES
42
5 THE MAN WHO
52
NIXONS THE ONE
57
1 THE MAN AT THE WILSON DESK
97
1 STATE OF THE WORLD
388
2 SECRET NEGOTIATIONS INSIDE AND OUT
398
3 CHINA REPORT
409
4 THE GUNS OF APRIL
417
5 THE ROAD TO MOSCOW
432
6 THE MOSCOW SUMMIT
440
1 NIXON S EHRLICHMAN
463
2 WAYWARD BUS REVISITED
480

2 INTERREGNUM
107
3 NO END RUNS
112
1 HELLO EUROPE
123
2 THE NEW ISOLATIONISTS
135
3 TALE OF TWO BRIDGES
143
4 THE KENNEDY CRITERION
152
5 HENRY THE K
156
6 SILENT MAJORITY
171
7 THE CAMBODIAN DECISION
181
8 THE NIGHT AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL
202
1 THE NEW FEDERALISM
218
2 THE WAYWARD BUS
232
3 DAMNGOVERNMENT
246
4 THE RISE OF JOHN MITCHELL
263
5 LONERS STICK TOGETHER
272
6 NIXONS HALDEMAN
278
7 LOOMINGS
294
8 A SWEARINGIN
301
1 US AGAINST THEM
307
2 THE 70 CAMPAIGN BEGINS
316
3 THE WAY TO SAN JOSE
327
4 A GOOD HONEST APPRAISAL
335
5 THE PRESS IS THE ENEMY
341
6 TO PEKING IN SECRET
366
3 HARDBALL
486
4 THE PRESIDENT FALLS IN LOVE
497
5 THE ECONOMIC SUMMIT
509
6 AD LIB
529
1 THE TWOIDEOLOGY SYSTEM
542
2 NIXON AND THE CATHOLICS
553
3 NIXON AND THE JEWS
564
4 THE WORK ETHIC
579
5 LABOR REWARDS ITS FRIENDS
584
1 THERE IS A THERE THERE
599
PAT NIXON
606
3 BEBE
613
4 HIDEAWAY
617
5 JULIE
622
1 THE FALL OF JOHN MITCHELL
634
2 THE CAMPAIGN THAT NEVER WAS
639
3 BIZARRE INCIDENT
656
4 CHRISTMAS BOMBS
666
5 PEACE WITH HONOR
671
6 THE BEST YEAR EVER
682
EPILOGUE
688
INDEX
694
Copyright

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Page 246 - It may be, sir, that the politicians of the United States are not so fastidious as some gentlemen are as to disclosing the principles on which they act. They boldly preach what they practice. When they are contending for victory they avow their intention of enjoying the fruits of it. If they are defeated, they expect to retire from office. If they are successful, they claim, as a matter of right, the advantages of success.
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Page 242 - open" society is one of open choices — and one in which the individual has the mobility to take advantage of those choices. In speaking of "desegregation" or "integration," we often lose sight of what these mean within the context of a free, open, pluralistic society. We cannot be free, and at the same time be required to fit our lives into prescribed places on a racial grid — whether segregated or integrated, and whether by some mathematical formula or by automatic assignment. Neither can we...
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