Abuse of Power

  • by Stanley I. Kutler
  • Narrated by David Ackroyd, David Dukes, William Window
  • 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Richard Nixon said he wanted administration to be "the best chronicled in history". But when Alexander Butterfield disclosed the existence of a voice-activated tapind system to a Senate committee in July 1973, Nixon's White House and its recordings quickly became the most infamous in American history. Only 60 hours were actually made public in the 1970s. Many thousands of hours remained secret and Nixon's hands, and he fought fiercely to keep them that way right up to his death. Finally, thanks to a lawsuit brought by historian Stanley I. Kutler with advocacy group Public Citizen, a landmark 1996 settlement with the Nixon estate and the National Archives is bringing over 3,000 hours of tapes to light. Packed with revelations, Abuse of Power offers a spellbinding portrait of raw power and a Shakespearean depiction of a King and his court. Now, in this dramatic reconstruction of the tapes, the personalities of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Haig, Kissinger, and Dean are vividly captured in their own words. Finally, the full story of Nixon's downfall can be told.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good cast of characters for this reenactment

First, William Windom's surname is misspelled. I hope someone will correct that one day. Second, he does a great job as Nixon. I've heard the actual tapes but could not always understand what was said. I'm glad they recreated the text so listeners can follow every word, still a chore given Nixon's verbal ping-ponging. So many actors have played Nixon over the past few years. I won't forget Frank Langella in the film version of the Nixon/Frost interviews. WW will leave his mark on this acting legacy as well.
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- PearlGirl "PearlGirl"

A legal train-wreck I have to gaze at

Nixon is an all-time favorite non-fiction character for me. There is no end to all his facets and defects, all bundled up in one super-ambitious person bound to achieve greatly in the very moment he crashes and burns. He is a sort of everyman, if every man was a hard-drinking bright paranoid lawyer, playing manic 'roid-laced poker with politics, human careers, lives and national destinies, unable to stop self-destructing amidst seat-of-the-pants cliffhanger episodes all through. He wails and lashes out, but always with a touch of arch-lawyerly cleverness. He constructs plausible stories (and perjuries) on the fly, all phrased in mom-apple-pie-Americana window dressing, out of hopeless losing situations, prompting his cronies while trying to buck them up and prevent their jumping ship. One by one, they do, peeling away into court and congressional hearings, and they instantly become the new demons and enemies to be "destroyed." The voices here are actors, well-done, but the script is verbatim from the White House tapes. I like nothing better than to curl up on a chilly night and listen to Nixon conniving mentally-aloud with his (latest set of) cronies to extricate himself in underhanded fashion from the complex puzzles he has stumbled into. Call me crazy that way. He is really coming unraveled toward the end. I can't not listen in.
The listener should already be familiar with the basics of the Watergate story, to fully enjoy this.
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- Phil O.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-19-2009
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books