The Ends of Power 1

I started H.R. Haldeman’s The Ends of Power, which Haldeman co-wrote with Joseph DiMona.  Haldeman was White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon.

Why did I decide to read this book?  Well, Haldeman has somewhat fascinated me.  I suppose that he has ever since I read Eli Chesen’s President Nixon’s Psychiatric Profile, which noted Haldeman’s 1950’s style haircut, and also the fact that Haldeman was a devout Christian Scientist.  Moreover, I have long read and heard that Haldeman was rather intimidating, and I often wonder what is underneath people who put on a tough front.

So far, The Ends of Power gets into some of the intricacies of Watergate.  Reading this book is similar to my experience of reading volume 2 of Nixon’s memoirs, which talked a lot about Watergate.  This is not because Haldeman necessarily agrees with Nixon’s account: Haldeman agrees with Nixon in some areas, but disagrees with Nixon in others (i.e., what was discussed on the 18 and 1/2 minutes erased from the tape).  Rather, the two are similar because of their ambiguity.  Both of them, on some level, agree that the break-in at the Democratic Committee’s headquarters was a mistake, and Haldeman takes some responsibility for it, even though he says that neither he nor Nixon ordered it or even knew about it until after it occurred.  (UPDATE: Later in the book, however, Haldeman says that Nixon wanted information about DNC chair Lawrence O’Brien, and that this might have been an impetus for the break-in.)  And yet, both Nixon and Haldeman say that they don’t have much of a problem with bugging because Democrats did that, too.  The initial reaction of Nixon and Haldeman, according to their accounts, was that the break-in was stupid, since what was at the DNC headquarters?  But they stop short of criticizing the mindset that was allegedly behind the break-in: the use of bugging to gather information on one’s political opponents.  I’m just speaking based on my reading of Haldeman so far.

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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