The best memoirs tell you all of the things about the subject: the Writer Take, for one instance, this line from the great John Malkovich’s memoir: “We were young and committed and there was nothing we could not do.”
I have an erection now.
Here, now, gentle reader, is what I learned about Richard Nixon after reading the first 306 pages of his memoir. Just like the title of the post says. It should be noted that I am reading the complete hardback of his memoir RN. Don’t be afraid.
1) At lunch with Eisenhower in July of 1967: “We ate lunch alone on the screened-in porch overlooking the farm. We had chicken with noodles and a salad garnished with pickled water-melon rind, which he proudly said he (Eisenhower) had helped to make. “The rind wasn’t thick enough,” he said as he helped himself to more.” p 286.
2) I wrote down some “New Year’s Resolutions for 1965″: Set great goals. Daily Rest. Brief vacations. Knowledge of all weaknesses. Better use of time. Begin writing book. Golf or some other kind of daily exercise. Articles or speeches on provocative new interntational and national issues.” p 265.
3) It was frustrating for me to see as inept a candidate as Goldwater running for President. p 263.
4) We found a taxi and went to a restaurant where an excellent Hungarian orchestra played gypsy music. I was recognized, and after dinner I went up to the bandstand and banged out “Missouri Waltz” on the piano. p 249.
5) One day in 1938, Mrs. Lilly Baldwin, the director of the local amateur theatre group, telephoned me to ask if I would like to play the part of a prosecuting attorney in their upcoming production of Ayn Rand’s courtroom drama, The Night of January 16th. I took the part and thoroughly enjoyed this experience in amateur dramatics. p. 23.
6) He (Nixon’s high school football coach) used to say, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” He also said, “When you lose, get mad–but get mad at yourself, not your opponent.” p 20.