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The Astonishing Comeback of Richard Nixon
On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first and only U.S. president to resign from office—to avoid almost certain impeachment. Utterly disgraced, he was forced to flee the White House with a small cadre of advisors and family. Richard Nixon was a completely defeated man.
Yet only a decade later, Nixon was a trusted advisor to presidents, dispensing wisdom on campaign strategy and foreign policy, shaping the course of U.S.-Soviet summit meetings, and representing the U.S. at state funerals—the very model of an elder statesman.
How did he do it? Nixon leveraged his still sharp mind, his peerless political instincts, his deep connections with foreign leaders—but, above all, his stubborn refusal to accept defeat—to achieve a political restoration as astonishing as the fall that preceded it.
Kasey S. Pipes, advisor to President George W. Bush, tells the fascinating story of Nixon’s comeback. Using unprecedented access to the private post-presidential documents at the Nixon Library, Pipes reveals inside information that has never been reported about Nixon’s successful campaign to repair his reputation and resuscitate his career, including:
- The true story behind the supposed medical “hoax” to get Nixon out of testifying at the Watergate trials of his aides in Washington
- The strategy behind Nixon’s apparently accidental on-air “confession” of the Watergate coverup to interviewer David Frost
- How Nixon’s advice on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) shaped Ronald Reagan’s negotiations with Gorbachev—and changed history
- How Nixon traveled to China after Tiananmen Square to help preserve the U.S.-Chinese relations that he had opened up years earlier
- The Saturday morning presidential radio address: a Nixon idea
- Nixon’s surprising friendship with Bill Clinton
After the Fall is the gripping and never-before-told story of one of the most remarkable reversals of fortune in American political history.
About the Author
KASEY S. PIPES served as an advisor to President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is co-founder of the issues management firm Corley Pipes, partner at the public affairs firm High Water Strategies, and the Norris Fellow at the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College. His writings have appeared in USA Today and Politico, and he is the author of Ike’s Final Battle: The Road to Little Rock and the Challenge of Equality.
“In a fast-moving, richly researched volume that breaks new ground, Kasey S. Pipes describes that most improbable of political journeys, the post-presidential return of Richard Nixon, this time to the private role of advising Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton on foreign policy. Drawing on private Nixon family records, letters, and memos, Pipes shows the former president was far more active in helping shape America’s grand global strategy—and more successful—than previously realized, even as he suffered political exile. The story is a must for anyone wanting to understand Nixon’s life after Watergate."
— —Karl C. Rove, deputy chief of staff in the George W. Bush administration and author of The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters
“Kasey S. Pipes’s After the Fall is a book worth reading; it is also a book worth thinking about in deeply reflective ways. At one level it is an insightful chronicle of Richard Nixon’s return to grace as he deftly uses his foreign policy expertise as the vehicle to establish new relationships with policy makers, politicians, and the public. Pipes’s depiction of the eulogies for Nixon by Senator Dole and President Clinton reads as an evocative exclamation point for this groundbreaking story of Nixon’s successful twenty-year return journey. Yet at another, more reflective level it is a study in the power of resilience, determination, and character in shaping a life—Nixon’s, to be sure, but more broadly perhaps, our own as well."
— —Larry Taylor, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, 1995–1997
“Three and a half years after departing the White House in disgrace, on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday, Richard Nixon contemplated the future. ‘I had to decide,’ he wrote, ‘what to do with the rest of my life.’ The road less traveled in Nixon scholarship is the twenty-year span following his presidency. In After the Fall, Kasey Pipes fills in the missing parts of this journey. Its apt subtitle is The Remarkable Comeback of Richard Nixon. Nixon’s regeneration was remarkable. So is this book.”
— —Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief, RealClearPolitics
"Based on his exclusive access to Nixon’s post-presidential papers, Kasey Pipes has written a fascinating account of Richard M. Nixon’s last and greatest personal crisis: rebuilding his credibility after Watergate. Pipes has mastered and carefully weighed the facts, and he tells the story well.”
— —Bruce Buchanan, professor emeritus, Department of Government, the University of Texas at Austin