Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1972 - The Book

Here's a transcript of Nixon talking to Haldeman that came in an emailed promo on 1972  [the real title I think is The Nixon Tapes] from the Richard Nixon tape archives.

December 14, 1972
President Nixon and Bob Haldeman, Oval Office 1:05 p.m.

Haldeman: There are a lot of good stories from the first term.
Nixon: A book should be written, called “1972.”
Haldeman: Yeah.
Nixon: That would be a hell of a good book. And somebody should have thought of it. It should, you know, that should be on its way. And it should either be a monograph or a book. You get in China, you get in Russia, you get in May 8th, and you get in the election. And it’s a hell of a damn year. That’s what I would write as a book. “1972,” period.

1972 was a big year for me.  I celebrated my first wedding anniversary, we spent the summer in our VW camper wandering through Mexico, British Honduras, and Guatemala.  I was in my second semester as a graduate student in at USC.  I remember the summer before in our first big summer camping adventure driving through Idaho in the evening alongside a river as President Nixon announced on the radio that he was going to China.  I had to stop the car to be sure of what I heard.  It was such an unexpected and incredible announcement.   And a day before [a couple of days after (never totally trust your memory)] my son was born, in 1974, Nixon resigned.  And that's the day they're releasing the book.
Out of SE Asia Now Protest- around 1972 - LA

I'm not sure how I got on the mailing list - maybe I looked through the Nixon tapes archive online for this blog once - and I don't normally pass on these kinds of things.  But this one promises to fill in some gaps in what I knew at the time.   Nixon is one of those great Shakespearian figures - so flawed yet also doing great things,  like going to China.  And flawed as he was, divided as the country was over the war, Republicans and Democrats in Congress socialized, worked together, and got things done.

The clutter war is going well enough that I was able to find, without much trouble, this photo I took around 1972 of an anti-war demonstration in Los Angeles.

Here's what else they say about this book:
Our book will not rehash old stories. It will be the first to put a substantial quantity of the Nixon tapes within easy reach of the public, focusing on the major foreign policy achievements of 1972: 1) the opening to China, 2) reducing Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union, and 3) ending the Vietnam War and bringing our POWs home.

Here's a bit about author Luke Nichter from his website.

Luke’s current book project is The Nixon Tapes, co-authored with Douglas Brinkley, to be published in 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation (August 9, 2014). He is also currently revising a book manuscript tentatively titled Richard Nixon and Europe, based on multilingual research in 16 archives in six countries. Luke is finishing work on a series of book-length presidential biographies for Nova's First Men, America's Presidents series, including volumes on George W. Bush (2012), Lyndon B. Johnson (2013), and Richard M. Nixon (2014). 
Luke is a former founding Executive Producer of C-SPAN's American History TV, which debuted in 2010 and is seen in approximately 41 million homes on C-SPAN3. There, he created programs such as "American Artifacts," a weekly series that takes viewers behind the scenes to museums, archives, and historic sites to see items they would not normally be able to see.

Anyone asking "What happened on May 8, 1972?"  From Day In History:
Vietnam War – U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announces his order to place mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and other goods to that nation. 

I guess he still thought he was going to win the war.


  1. Here is another book available now. Learn all about the real backstory to Nixon's pingpong diplomacy and the China thaw.

    The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide

    As one review summarizes: Rather than seeking to restrain the Pakistani military, Nixon and Kissinger did all they could to strengthen it for the open clash with India that loomed because of the bloodshed in East Bengal. Once the fighting started, Bass recounts that, in a precursor to Watergate, the two men knowingly broke U.S. law by approving the transfer to Pakistan of American-supplied F-104 Starfighter jet interceptors from Jordan and Iran, then still under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. John Mitchell, Nixon’s attorney general and subsequently one of the major figures convicted in the Watergate scandal, was in the room at the time of the decision and made no objection.

  2. Thanks for the lead on this other book.

    1. The author interviewed George H.W. Bush (U.N. Ambassador 1971-1973) on the record IIRC. The part where Kissinger encouraged China to mass troops on the Indian border, what could go wrong?


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