NPR 4 THE DEAF: Nixon Agonistes




Richard Nixon’s presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence? Tens of thousands of files from the Nixon White House, National Security Council, CIA, FBI, State Department and Pentagon were declassified between 2007 and THE TRAGEDY OF NIXON2014. Hundreds of hours of Nixon’s tapes were made public in 2013 and 2014. After having pored over these documents, Tim Weiner provides answers to these and other questions in his book One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon. Nixon was consumed by fear, Weiner tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. That fear “turned into anger and that anger turned into self-destruction and every hour of these new tapes and these released transcripts adds to the record of a man committing political suicide day-by-day,” he says. Nixon was waging fights both at home and abroad. “In Vietnam, he had a weapon — B-52 bombers,” Weiner says. “At home, he had bugs, break-ins, black bag jobs and burglaries. The two wars became one: Vietnam morphed into Watergate. He said so himself — Nixon did — that Vietnam found its successor in Watergate.” MORE