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Book Nook: King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy by Michael Dobbs

Vick Mickunas' 2021 interview with Michael Dobbs

President Richard M. Nixon was the only American President to ever resign from office. He did that in August of 1974 when he finally realized that he was about to be impeached and that if he did not choose to leave by his own choice then he could be removed from office. His political party was turning against him and he understood that his chances of retaining his post were dwindling. On August 9, 1974 he boarded a helicopter on the White House lawn and flew into exile in California.

Many books have been written about Nixon and that period. The journalist Michael Dobbs saw what happened to Nixon as a tragedy. In his book "King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy" the author takes readers back to a pivotal period during Nixon's fall from power; the first 100 days after Nixon won re-election. That's when things began falling apart as the Watergate scandal and the coverup that followed it played out in tragic fashion. We observe as Nixon loses control of the situation and as he became more desperate to save his presidency he began to sacrifice his closest advisors with the increasingly futile hope that he could halt the slow motion disaster that was unfolding.

Dobbs takes a novelistic approach here. Nixon secretly recorded many incriminating conversations that took place. He had a chance to destroy the tapes-he waited too long. As it became public knowledge that these recordings existed Nixon's fate had been sealed. Dobbs recreated many of those conversations. We hear the words. We sense the fear and the paranoia that began to flow throughout the White House. It really was rather tragic.

Nixon fascinates. Many of the things that he did half a century ago still bedevil us today.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library, Clark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.