In This Review

President Nixon: Alone in the White House
President Nixon: Alone in the White House
By Richard Reeves
Simon & Schuster, 2001, 704 pp

In his presidential biography of John F. Kennedy, Reeves developed a distinctive narrative style. He picked representative days to show how issues converged in the Oval Office and how the president connected and handled them. In such a vivid frame, work and personal habits became clear. Reeves now applies the same successful approach to Richard Nixon. His research is solid, using some good new sources. Reeves' narrative structure also works well for a president who tried so hard to pull every string from behind his desk. Holding the reader in that office, always seeing the world through the lens of a withdrawn, insecure president, Reeves depicts an atmosphere of constant manipulation and deception. Reeves is neutral in his handling of most of the policy issues. But in the strange world he re-creates, all the successes seem hollow. Only the growing number of perceived enemies seems truly real.