Anthony Summers’ biography of Richard Nixon reveals a troubled figure whose criminal behavior did not begin with Watergate. Drawing on more than a thousand interviews and five years of research, Summers reveals a man driven by an addiction to intrigue and power, whose subversion of democracy during Watergate was the culmination of years of cynical political manipulation. New evidence suggests the former president had problems with alcohol and prescription drugs, was at times mentally unstable, and was abusive to his wife Pat. Nixon was a man who was driven by narcissism and a Machiavellian political urgency. In Nixon, the President and the presidency became more important than the nation.
Summers discloses previously unrevealed facts about Nixon’s role in the plots to topple Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende, his sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks in 1968, and his acceptance of funds from dubious sources. The Arrogance of Power shows how the actions of one tormented man influenced fifty years of American history, in ways still reverberating today. I would argue that most of our presidents in the modern era have been affected by the Nixon mystique. Especially Bill Clinton and even Barrack Obama, who were both men with narcissistic tendencies.