30th September 2007 Book Reviews
Conrad Black’s weighty new biography of Richard Nixon portrays him as a “mighty and mythic” figure who made a “dignified exit” after being unfairly hounded from office—a code it’s little trouble to break
Conrad Black, writing in what he describes as “very distracting circumstances, as I prepared at the same time to deal with serious judicial problems,” has a morality tale to tell, at the length of 1,059 pages. There was once a “very competent and successful” leader who “dealt decisively with all the problems he faced.” But the leader had bitter, vindictive enemies and he made one serious mistake. “In a fair proceeding it would not have been easy to prove that he had committed a crime that justified his removal from office.” But there was no fairness, and he was hounded out.
The great leader made a “dignified exit” and “always put the national interest above all other considerations.” Although able to do so, “he would not consider giving himself a pardon, nor would he consider seeking asylum in France, China, Chile, Egypt or any of the many other countries that would have been happy to accord it to him.” Instead, after a “masterpiece” of a farewell address, he left “quietly and without recrimination.”
If you’re a Prospect subscriber, click here to read more.