In the televised interviews with Richard Nixon conducted by David Frost in 1977 it was the palpable reserve and awkwardness that, more than anything else perhaps, humanised the former President, an interiorised, lonely personality difficult to know. Together with the will that overcame the reserve and insecurity, people close to him detected self-dislike, not unappealing for anyone who has known the feeling. Even Nixon’s “bad” qualities have their appeal. Listening to the Watergate tapes, one warms to the ruthlessness and amorality, not just because his enemies in the press and the Eastern Establishment were what they were, but because it…
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