Pat and Dick: The Nixons, an Intimate Portrait of a Marriage.

2014

Richard Nixon graduated number three from his Duke University Law School class. Thelma (Pat) Ryan was an orphan in Depression-era California yet she attained the equivalent of a master’s degree in merchandising and she taught high school typing and shorthand classes. Swift tells the story of the Nixon courtship, political life and death after 53 years of marriage. Along the way we read about Nixon’s involvement with the Communist scare, 1960 presidential election footing Nixon against John F. Kennedy which he lost by a mere 40,000 votes, his triumph in1968 when he beat Hubert Humphrey by ½ million votes which enabled him to reach his dream of becoming the President of the United States.  Pat Nixon overcame the label “Plastic Pat.” She was named the nation’s ideal wife by the Homemaker’ Forum in 1957 and Good Housekeeping’s most admired woman in the country from 1974-75. Richard Nixon became embroiled in the Watergate scandal and he was forced to resign the presidency in August of 1974. He attempted to re-establish his reputation as an elder statesman while fighting severe bouts of phlebitis. He wrote eight best-selling books from 1983-1994. Pat suffered a stroke which left her speech slightly slurred. She died at the age of 80 and Dick followed her 10 months later. Swift brings out the human side of the Nixon marriage, including their daughters, Julie and Tricia while presenting a well-rounded story of a turbulent time in U.S. history.

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