*Starred Review* Richard M. Nixon
By Billy Aronson
2007. illus. Marshall Cavendish, lib. ed., $22.95 (9780761424284), Gr. 5-8
First published October 15, 2007 (Booklist).
Everyone agrees that Richard Nixon, 37th president of the United States, was an exceedingly complex man. That’s why it is remarkable that Aronson, in this slim volume, is able to paint so full a picture that readers will come away feeling that they know the man and understand at least some of the forces that shaped him. Beginning with Nixon’s formative years as the child of a strict father and Quaker mother, the narrative moves chronologically, marching through the war years, Nixon’s tenure in Congress and as vice-president, his presidential loss to JFK, the ability to remake himself as a politician, and his years as president. Throughout, Aronson uses quotes and other material to paint an evenhanded picture of someone who could ruthlessly destroy political enemies, yet also have great sympathy for the U.S.’s underclass. (His administration spent more money on social programs than did LBJ’s Great Society.) Helpful insets discuss myriad topics from Nixon’s daughters to excerpts of the Watergate tapes. The typeface is easily read, the photographs are well-chosen, and the back matter includes books and Web sites. All that’s missing is source notes, a real minus for such a fine offering from the Presidents and their Times series.