King Richard: Nixon and Watergate by Michael Dobbs

A well planned and meticulously researched book that provides a bout of fresh air, despite decades spent on the subject and countless stories told in writing as well as cinematic optics, Dobbs holds one attention to the last page.

Especially poignant the story is in parallel to analysing recent Trump Presidency (shall one read Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, by the way, a mentor of Dobbs). Uneasy analogies abound, but so do stories told by Nixon himself, an avid historical biographies reader, of misdeeds and misfires of Presidents ennobled by history.

It also plays well in 2021 alongside tv series like Apple TV+ 1971 or other movie dramatizations — allowing one to see in stereo the unfolding of early 70ies.

The cadence, setting apart chapters by days, ticking like a “clockwork orange” of a dystopian past, setting the stage for a crisis that unravels the particular Administration, it destroys the office of the Presidency, rendering Nixon unable to operate as he did, relying on his aids, who, in fanatic haze of giving Nixon their all, cross countless boundaries, be that breaking into Daniel Ellsberg’s (Pentagon Papers leaker) psychiatrist office, or wiretapping opposition or, finally, breaking into Democratic National Committee in Watergate hotel.

Further reading to spice up what has been happening and how Vietnam catalyzed Nixon’s second Administration decisions:

Ellsberg was a high-rising analyst witnessing first-hand the inefficiency of American tactics in Vietnam and contributing to McNamara Pentagon Papers that provided a nasty truth dispelling the visage of a victorious military campaign. He also provided essential understanding to the infighting between National Security apparatus led by Henry Kissinger and the Pentagon, as well as Secretary of State (often sidelined in the negotiations with Vietnam)

President: See, the attack in the North that we have in mind…power plants, whatever’s left — POL [petroleum], the docks…And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

President: No, no, no…I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much. President: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?…I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

Only a human. VC at @gauss_vc