Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character

By Fawn M. Brodie | Go to book overview

VII

Death and Two Brothers

If we were to accuse X of having killed his mother, his two brothers, and five friends, X and his allies would shout back, "That's a lie! X never hurt a hair of his old mother's head and he only wounded one brother. Foul and unfair!" The counterattack would be on, with attention diverted from the five friends and the other brother whom X had, indeed, actually killed. 1

WHEN RICHARD NIXON WROTE Six Crises, he did not include the deaths of his two brothers among the great crises of his life. The only reference to brothers dying is the extraordinary fantasy, quoted above, which he wrote in discussing Communist tactics. Arthur died somewhat mysteriously when Richard was twelve, and Harold died after a five-year fight against tuberculosis in 1933 when Richard was twenty. Although he mentioned the deaths of small boys, or older brothers of small boys, in a surprising number of speeches—including his defense of the death penalty—he has told us almost nothing about the compelling tragedies of his youth. Except for a poignant high school essay, "My Brother, Arthur M. Nixon," 2 we have only memory fragments.

When David Abrahamsen said that Richard Nixon had "a basic inability to express and give love and to receive it," 3 he missed seeing Nixon's love for the small boy who died in 1925. At seventeen Richard wrote:

We have a picture in our home which money could not buy. It is not a picture for which great art collectors would offer thousands of dollars....

The first thing we notice, perhaps, is that this particular boy has unusually beautiful eyes, black eyes which seem to sparkle with hidden fire and to beckon us to come on some secret journey which will carry us

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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Richard Nixon - The Shaping of His Character *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • I - Man of Paradox *
  • II - The Oil in the Lemon Grove *
  • III - The Punishing Father *
  • IV - The Saintly Mother *
  • V - The Unsmiling Child *
  • VI - Splitting and Entitlement *
  • VII - Death and Two Brothers *
  • VIII - Presidential Fever *
  • IX - The Monastic Years *
  • X - The First Law Case: Failure *
  • XI - A Problem with Touching *
  • XII - Fighting Quaker *
  • XIII - The Dragon Slayer *
  • XIV - The First Informer *
  • XV - The Impact of Whittaker Chambers *
  • XVI - The Destruction of Alger Hiss *
  • XVII - On Women and Power: Pat and the Pink Lady *
  • XVIII - Nixon Among the Giants *
  • XIX - Checkers *
  • XX - Mccarthy *
  • XXI - Stevenson and Nixon *
  • XXII - Prelude to Vietnam *
  • XXIII - Hidden Problems: the Early Surfacing *
  • XXIV - Death Wishes *
  • XXV - On the Throwing of Rocks *
  • XXVI - Khrushchev *
  • XXVII - The Assassination Track *
  • XXVIII - Nixon and Kennedy *
  • XXIX - A Problem with Donald *
  • XXX - The Drubbing *
  • XXXI - The Private Man *
  • XXXII - The New York Years *
  • XXXIII - A Series of Accidents *
  • XXXIV - The Nixon Character *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Interviews *
  • Index *
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