Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character

By Fawn M. Brodie | Go to book overview

VIII

Presidential Fever

If I can paraphrase the Biblical injunction: the second shall be first.

— RICHARD NIXON, JUNE 16, 1969 1

THE SAME YEARS that saw Harold Nixon sinking into death saw his brother transformed from a lonely, self-pitying adolescent into a competitive college student, seemingly self-possessed, confident, popular. By March 1933 when Harold died, Richard had been elected president of the freshman class, president of his fraternity, president of the History Club, and was campaigning against what he called "political dictators" to become president of the student body.2 Much of this transformation had come from internal discipline and not from Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he read later and to which he paid some homage. As president, remembering these years, he counselled Spiro Agnew: "You have got to make love to the people. It's always been a very difficult thing for me to do." 3

The youth who disliked dancing presented as a major plank in his campaign for student-body president the right of students to dance on campus. The boy who would not wear a shirt to school unless it was freshly starched now helped to organize a new fraternity where the badge of membership was an open shirt without a tie. The fastidious child who could not stand the smell of the unwashed students on the high school bus had become a scrimmager on the football field, and had won fame by being the first in the college's history to add to the annual bonfire an outdoor privy with four rather than two holes. The brother who had isolated himself at family and church picnics was now an aggressive campaigner seeking evidence of public affection by soliciting votes.

One can see the yearning for contact, the hunger for abandon,

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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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