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Inside the Nixon administration : the secret diary of Arthur Burns, 1969-1974 /
edited by Robert H. Ferrell.
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2010.
xiv, 140 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
0700617302 (hbk.), 9780700617302 (hbk.)
More Details
added author
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2010.
0700617302 (hbk.)
9780700617302 (hbk.)
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-11-01:
Burns (1904-87) served-and survived-as chairman of the Federal Reserve board for the entire Nixon administration. Now Ferrell (history, emeritus, Indiana Univ.; Harry S. Truman: A Life) skillfully edits Burns's diary, first made available from the Gerald Ford Library in 2008, and includes a helpful introduction and brief notes that identify people and events. The diary is distinguished by its brevity. The author rails against Nixon's hacks (as Burns describes them), including H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson (who admits Nixon charged him with "getting Burns" to ensure his cooperation), and treasury secretary John Connally, whom the author viewed as an uninformed flatterer. Another interesting entry shows Henry Kissinger confiding in Burns that Nixon's anti-Semitism could hurt his (Kissinger's) chances of becoming secretary of state. VERDICT This diary will be of interest mostly to specialists because complicated economic policies are not always explained here in layman's terms, but undaunted readers will find fascinating insights into the Nixon presidency as it self-destructed. For an excellent investigation of the issues Burns mentions, see Allen J. Matusow's Nixon's Economy: Booms, Busts, Dollars, and Votes.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 2010
Wall Street Journal, November 2010
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Bowker Data Service Summary
As chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the seventies, Arthur Burns had a unique view of the Nixon administration. This title presents the recently released secret diary of this top-level economist and offers a surprisingly candid inside look at Richard Nixon's fall.
Main Description
As chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the seventies, Arthur Burns had a unique view of the Nixon administration. Burns first joined the Nixon administration as an advisor in 1969 and was privy to the dynamics of the presidents coterie over the course of six tumultuous years. Now the recently released secret diary of this top-level economist offers a surprisingly candid inside look at Richard Nixons fall. The diary tracks Burnss growing awareness of Nixons behind-the-scenes maneuverings and worrisome behavior (such as "insane shouting") and reveals how such things undermined his respect and enthusiasm for the president. Perhaps even more telling, Burnss evaluations of his colleagues provide piercing insights into the presidents inner circle, including Henry Kissinger ("a brilliant political analyst, but admittedly ignorant of economics"), George Schultz ("a no less confused amateur economist"), John Connally ("a thoroughly confused politician"), and the "vulgarians" H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman-the only people he thought Nixon felt relaxed around. The Burns diary also offers rare and telling glimpses into the eras economy-particularly an account of how Nixon exerted political pressure to shape monetary policies that helped to fuel the stagflation of the 1970s. The administration sought to close the so-called gold window, an approximate valuation of dollars with gold bullion, by floating the dollar, and the consensus over many years has been that Nixon himself arranged this-speculation now confirmed by Burnss diary. It also underscores the growing pressure Burns felt to serve the needs of Nixons reelection bid rather than the economic welfare of the nation. Sequestered for decades and unavailable until 2008, this document reveals an honest and relatively apolitical man surrounded by partisans in top administrative positions who were dishonest, inept-or both. "The President has many shortcomings," wrote Burns. "He has few convictions, but now and then he gets into a euphoric mood where he wants to persuade himself that hes a statesman. But his sycophantic advisers cannot even recognize that." Deftly annotated by distinguished historian Robert Ferrell, who provides effective historical context and perspective, the Burns diary is a potent-and poignant-testament to the Machiavellian and often Byzantine world of American presidential politics.

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