Sunday, November 9, 2008

Five best books about leaders paired by history

At the Wall Street Journal, Nicholas Wapshott named a five best list of books about "leaders paired by history."

One title on the list:
Nixon and Kissinger
by Robert Dallek
HarperCollins, 2007

The story of the egghead and the paranoid president is the stuff of Broadway comedy and Greek tragedy, and Robert Dallek captures both the high and low aspects of the tale. It is the incongruity of the arrangement that intrigues -- Kissinger finding that the prominence of his foreign-policy role seemed to confer on him the power of a co-president when Nixon's character flaws brought the Oval Office crashing down around him. Dallek not only deals brilliantly with the often bizarre interaction of the two men but carefully apportions credit for the administration's many foreign-policy successes. The result is a touching and telling revision of the vicious, self-serving partnership that emerged from the pens of Woodward and Bernstein in the 1970s. It is a haunting tale, too, not least in the dying days of the presidency, when Kissinger finds his cautious respect for Nixon turning to concerned affection.
Read about all five books on Wapshott's list.

Nicholas Wapshott is the author of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage.

--Marshal Zeringue