From the best-selling author of One Minute to Midnight: a riveting account of the crucial days, hours, and moments when the Watergate conspiracy consumed, and ultimately toppled, a president.
In January 1973, Richard Nixon had just been inaugurated after winning re-election in a historic landslide. He enjoyed an almost 70 percent approval rating. But by April 1973, his presidency had fallen apart as the Watergate scandal metastasized into what White House counsel John Dean called “a full-blown cancer.” King Richard is the intimate, utterly absorbing narrative of the tension-packed hundred days when the Watergate conspiracy unraveled as the burglars and their handlers turned on one another, exposing the crimes of a vengeful president.
Drawing on thousands of hours of newly-released taped recordings, Michael Dobbs takes us into the heart of the conspiracy, recreating these traumatic events in cinematic detail. He captures the growing paranoia of the principal players and their desperate attempts to deflect blame as the noose tightens around them. We eavesdrop on Nixon plotting with his aides, raging at his enemies, while also finding time for affectionate moments with his family. The result is an unprecedentedly vivid, close-up portrait of a president facing his greatest crisis.
Central to the spellbinding drama is the tortured personality of Nixon himself, a man whose strengths, particularly his determination to win at all costs, become his fatal flaws. Rising from poverty to become the most powerful man in the world, he commits terrible errors of judgment that lead to his public disgrace. He makes himself—and then destroys himself.
Structured like a classical tragedy with a uniquely American twist, King Richard is an epic, deeply human story of ambition, power, and betrayal.
About the Author
MICHAEL DOBBS was born and educated in Britain, but he is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent, and he has taught at Princeton, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan. He is the author of a Cold War trilogy that includes Down with Big Brother, One Minute to Midnight, and Six Months in 1945; he lives outside Washington, D.C.
A New York Times Book to Watch
"The potent research and narrative skills of Michael Dobbs reach new heights in King Richard, his Shakespearean study of the endlessly compelling self-inflicted fall of Richard Nixon. Here again, as he did in his study of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dobbs applies his signature technique of revealing character through the dramatic compression of time. It makes for illuminating and addictively readable history."
—David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story
"Michael Dobbs is a master at narrative history. By focusing on the most critical 100 days of Watergate, and by sticking closely to the written and spoken record, Dobbs is able to bring to life the tragedy of Richard Nixon in a way no one else has. A truly gripping read and a moving portrait."
—Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon
"The strength of the work stems from Dobbs’s bringing lesser-known events into clear focus... Spanning biography and history, this is a gripping narrative and a fine account of events in the presidency. Recommended for readers unfamiliar with Watergate or in need of a refresher."
"The unraveling of Richard Nixon’s presidency plays out in intimate detail in this vivid recreation of a key period in the Watergate scandal.... Dobbs skillfully quotes from the tapes to paint colorful, nuanced portraits of White House yes-men, a manipulative Henry Kissinger, and a Nixon who is vulnerable, melancholy, paranoid and vengeful...The result is an indelible study of a political antihero."
—Publishers Weekly, starred
"This is a compelling, moment-by-moment narrative, psychological as much as political, offering a sense of intimacy with the beleaguered Nixon without mawkishness."
"Spellbinding... Masterful... The author delivers an intimate, engrossing picture of Nixon as a visionary man “obsessed with privacy and solitude,” an affectionate husband and father, and a gut-fighting outsider mystified by power and all its trappings, styling himself as a kind of blend of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Disraeli, and Charles de Gaulle. A riveting portrait of ambition, hubris, betrayal, and the downfall of an American president"