The Riveting Story of a Dramatic and Disastrous Presidency
Here is the first history of President Richard Nixon with all of his secret tapes and documents, many declassified in the past two years. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner presents a devastating portrait of a tortured and tormented man. In gripping prose, the author shows how, in Nixon’s mind, the conflict in Vietnam and the crimes of Watergate were one war, fought on two fronts.
One Man Against the World is a work of new insight into Richard Nixon—a man who saw enemies everywhere and, standing alone, took up arms against them.
“A great, bad man”
Richard Nixon saw himself as a great statesman, a giant for the ages, a general who could command the globe, a master of war, not merely the leader of the free world but “the world leader.” Yet he was addicted to the gutter politics that ruined him. He was—as an English earl once said of the warlord Oliver Cromwell—“a great, bad man.”
In Nixon’s first State of the Union speech, he said that he was possessed by “an indefinable spirit—the lift of a driving dream which has made America, from its beginning, the hope of the world.” He promised the American people “the best chance since World War II to enjoy a generation of uninterrupted peace.”
But Richard Nixon was never at peace. A darker spirit animated him—malevolent and violent, driven by anger and an insatiable appetite for revenge. At his worst he stood on the brink of madness. He thought the world was against him. He saw enemies everywhere. His greatness became an arrogant grandeur.
By experience deeply suspicious, by instinct incurably deceptive, he was branded by an indelible epithet: Tricky Dick. No less a man than Martin Luther King Jr. saw a glimpse of the monster beneath the veneer the first time they met, when King was the rising leader of the civil rights movement. “Nixon has a genius for convincing one that he is sincere,” King wrote in 1958. “If Richard Nixon is not sincere, he is the most dangerous man in America.”
Nixon had that genius, a genuine conviction that he could change the world. He was also a most dangerous man.
Tim Weiner Interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air
Tim Weiner Interviewed on The Leonard Lopate Show
Tim Weiner Interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show
“[An] eye-opening study of Richard Nixon's booze-soaked, paranoid White House years and the endless tragedies they wrought....It speaks volumes about Nixon that there is still more to learn about him, 40-plus years after Watergate. It speaks further volumes that what we are learning is even worse than what we knew.”
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“[A] devastating account of Nixon's presidency... This is powerful raw material, but Weiner's brilliant turns of phrase transform it into something extraordinary.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Tim Weiner is the author of five books. Legacy of Ashes, his history of the CIA, won the National Book Award. His journalism on secret government programs received the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. As a correspondent for The New York Times, he covered war and terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, and other nations. He directs the Carey Institute's nonfiction residency program in upstate New York and teaches as an Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies at Princeton.