The Real War, by Richard Nixon

February 27, 2011 at 22:38 (Biography, Book Reviews, Historical, Mediocre Books, Politics, Twentieth Century) (, , , , )

6/10

In some respects, this book is exactly what one expects of a vehement anti-communist desperate to prop up his own discredited record in the face of disgrace. Nixon blows the trumpet for massive nuclear rearmament, a belligerently firm line with the USSR and tells America to hunker down for generations of struggle against an implacable and inhumanly evil enemy. The surprising thing is, even to a sceptic this book and Nixon’s vitriolic yammering holds some weight. His analysis of the US policy in Vietnam is honest and grave, and astonishingly relevant in the light of thirty years of history. His questionable philosophy of seeing apartheid as a lesser evil (and even an acceptable evil) as compared to communism (his logic runs that in the first some are free, whereas in the second none are free) strikes instantly as cynical and cruel, but certainly gives poignant insight into the policies of the US government through the 1960s and 1970s – and on through the present. Nixon is unapologetic in his repeated calls for stronger and harsher lines in international policy, and oddly prophetic in many of his suggestions. His startling predictions clash noisily in his failed guesses (such as the manner in which Communism would fail in Eastern Europe) – and yet even in his mistakes he shows a cunning understanding of the political balance of the world and the way governments work. This book is an arrogant monument to Nixon’s massive ego, but it is also an invaluable resource, and its politics (cynical as they are) make a frightening amount of sense even thirty years later.

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1 Comment

  1. Thomas M King said,

    read this book as it was written post watergate late 1970’s, Ronald Reagon must have read this book which help assist in te fall of the Soviet Union!

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