What the President Saw: A Nation Coming Into Its Own

On July 4, 1985, Richard Nixon sits in a low-back armchair, his legs crossed on an ottoman, his hands contributing to his account of the past 40 years of atomic diplomacy by drawing circles in the air, playing an absent piano, shooing away a wrong idea, coming together in an arch or making points in precise order: one, two, three, four. It is shortly after 8 a.m. Two mornings back to back he has been discussing the effects of Hiroshima on the world and on the presidency in his office in a federal building in downtown Manhattan. The building's air-conditioning system...

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