What We Are Reading Today: The Arrogance of Power

What We Are Reading Today: The Arrogance of Power
Updated 28 April 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The Arrogance of Power

What We Are Reading Today: The Arrogance of Power
  • Nixon’s downfall was triggered by a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters
  • Essential reading at any point, “The Arrogance of Power” is particularly relevant now

In 1974, Richard Nixon left the White House in disgrace — the first, and still the only, US president to resign from office. He died in ignominy less than 20 years later, forever associated with an era of unprecedented corruption and political turmoil in the heart of America.

Nixon’s downfall was triggered by a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, in Washington’s Watergate office complex, but he spent his entire career courting controversy. “The Arrogance of Power,” by Anthony Summers, is a magisterial account of one of the most complicated and poorly understood political figures of the 20th century.

As well as examining Nixon’s poisonous rivalry with John F. Kennedy, his links with organized crime, and his disastrous role in prolonging and escalating the Vietnam war, the book looks at his hardscrabble upbringing and the personal demons that often threatened to overwhelm him.

Essential reading at any point, “The Arrogance of Power” is particularly relevant now, with the current administration of US President Donald Trump mired in a web of intrigue and scandal that may yet dwarf anything from Nixon’s time.