I started Monica Crowley's Nixon in Winter. In April, I blogged through Monica's Nixon Off the Record, which is about Monica's time working for Richard Nixon in the 1990's. Nixon in Winter is about that, too, only it has a far greater focus on foreign policy; plus, it gets into Nixon's reflections on Watergate and other political scandals, philosophy and religion, family, and mortality.
points about foreign policy in my latest reading were not all that new
to me, for many of them are the same points that he makes in his book, Seize the Moment, which I read and blogged through. This is not surprising, for Nixon in this part of Nixon in Winter is working on Seize the Moment,
as Monica assists him in researching for the book. I'll have plenty of
opportunities to get into foreign policy in my blog posts about Nixon in Winter. What I want to highlight here is the more personal dimension of Monica's narration.
asks in her introduction why Nixon was so open with her----how he could
trust her after being burned in the past. Her answer is that it was
because she was young and did not have an agenda, and also because Nixon
knew that he was sharing his thoughts with posterity when he was
sharing them with her. As Monica says, Nixon was telling his story one
There is a tender part of the book in which Monica comes to Nixon's home to work with him on his book Beyond Peace,
and they have dinner together. Nixon wanted her to come because he was
afraid that he would slip on the ice and seriously harm himself if he
went outside. When Monica arrived, he looked out the window to tell her
to take hold of the railing so she wouldn't fall. After talking about
the book, they had chili (which Nixon said was the only thing he knew
how to make) with grapefruit juice. He also made Monica a non-alcoholic
version of a beverage that he liked in Asia. And, when he tried to
open a bag of sesame-seed breadsticks, he had difficulty, and a bunch of
sesame seeds scattered on the floor!
Nixon said that he was
lonely on account of his celebrity. His wife Pat had died, and he
mostly stayed in his study, while rarely (if ever) going into the other
rooms. While Pat was still alive, he adopted a dog who was wandering
around on his property. Monica tells a funny story about how Nixon was
talking to her about foreign policy, and the dog bit off and swallowed
the tip of her pin, without Nixon even noticing!
In my reading so far, this book looks like it will be like Nixon: Off the Record:
a lot of technical discussion, yet also some light-hearted moments. At
the same time, my impression thus far is that Nixon's
humanity----particularly his loneliness----is more apparent in Nixon in Winter.