Julie Nixon Eisenhower’s Pat Nixon: The Untold Story 8

On page 442 of Pat Nixon: The Untold Story, Julie Nixon Eisenhower talks about the books that her mother, Pat Nixon, liked to read after Richard Nixon’s departure from the Presidency:

“Her favorite books were the historical novels by the prolific writer Taylor Caldwell, who crammed her stories with rich details on the eras she wrote about, be they Biblical times, ancient Greece, or nineteenth-century America.  What my mother found intriguing was that Taylor Caldwell believed in international plots, and to this day my mother’s perception of Watergate is that it was partly an international scheme, or, at the very least, that double agents were involved.  Like many others, she had questioned from the beginning the suspicious circumstances surrounding the apprehension of the burglars.  Was it a setup?  Was the CIA involved?  How deeply was Howard Hunt or his organization involved?”

I like this passage because it offers insights into Pat Nixon’s views on Watergate.  Julie goes on to say that Pat and Richard “avoided reading any of the books on the Nixon years, favorable, or unfavorable”, which is not an absolute statement, since Julie later tells the story of how Pat had a stroke after reading parts of The Final Days, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  But I wonder what Pat thought of the controversial book Silent Coup, which (from what I have heard) has a somewhat conspiratorial tone when talking about Watergate, and which a number of Nixon defenders, and even Nixon himself, liked.  (I don’t know if Nixon actually read it, but he told Monica Crowley that he wished its thesis got more attention than it did.)

It’s also interesting what Julie says about author Taylor Caldwell.  Caldwell was linked with the John Bircher wing of conservatism (see here), the wing that gave Richard Nixon and even Tricia and Julie problems when Nixon was running for Governor of California in 1962.  It’s ironic, in my opinion, that Pat Nixon enjoyed Taylor Caldwell’s books.  That Caldwell talked about “international plots” in her book does not surprise me, since the John Birch Society believed in conspiracies—-among international bankers, communists, socialists, leftists, etc.—-to create a one world government.  I don’t know for sure how Caldwell portrayed the “international plots”, since I have not read any of her books.  (My Mom has one of them, however, and I have Caldwell’s A Pillar of Iron, which is about Cicero.)  But the wikipedia article about her states that “Many of Caldwell’s books centered on the idea that a small cabal of rich, powerful men secretly control the world.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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