Nation: Nixon's Role: No Heroics

Richard Nixon regarded the Alger Hiss case as his first major crisis, and one that he handled masterfully. As President, he frequently urged his aides to read the account of it in his autobiographical Six Crises. "Warm up to it, and it makes fascinating reading," he told H.R. Haldeman. Charles Colson claimed to have read the book 14 times. "The fact is," says Historian Allen Weinstein, "Nixon didn't behave very courageously during the Hiss case. He buckled under pressure."

At the climactic point—when the House Un-American Activities Committee was seeking documentary evidence from Whittaker...

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