Despite an abundance of literature on Richard Nixon, the man behind the most spectacular crash-and-burn career of modern political history has remained an enigma. What lay behind his obsessive hunger for power and control, his attacks against enemies real and perceived, his refusal to accept defeat? Why did a man who had achieved so much feel so unfulfilled even at the height of his power? And what drove the president responsible for such triumphs as the opening of relations with China to the depths of the most devastating political scandal in American history? Richard Nixon: A Psychobiography is the first thoroughgoing psychological portrait of the 37th president, drawing upon telling interviews with Nixon intimates, published and archived materials, and employing a rigorous psychoanalytic methodology. Tracing the development of Nixon's complex psyche, the authors provide new insight not only into his unconsious motivations but also into the way they influenced his political actions, whether shrewd or disastrous. This probing analysis makes intelligible the moments in Nixon's presidency that have provoked much speculation but few answers, from his attempt to talk to Vietnam war protesters during a pre-dawn visit to the Lincoln Memorial to his keeping of the White House tapes. A more nuanced, more humanized Nixon emerges in a book that also provides compelling evidence that the politics of a nation is subject to the unconscious needs, fears, and fantasies of its leaders.
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