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A Calculated Risk
With the publication of Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate only a week away (7/29), author Ken Hughes is suddenly in great demand, so we appreciate his taking the time to answer a few questions about his book. Chasing Shadows shows how the covert activity that would eventually bring Nixon down had its roots in the 1968 presidential campaign, when the Republican nominee involved himself secretly in the Paris peace talks. One of the fascinating aspects of Hughes's book is the interaction between Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, who was only months away from his self-imposed retirement. It is a complex—not to say controversial—story, and in the following interview Hughes sheds much light on these two master politicians and the remarkable events they were at the center of.
LISTEN: LBJ Begins to Suspect
A week before the 1968 election, President Johnson called Senator Richard Russell. The conversation begins with personal anecdotes but LBJ then confides in Russell that Republican nominee for the presidency, Richard Nixon, is secretly interfering in the Paris Peace Talks.
WATCH: Trailer for Chasing Shadows
This summer marks the forty-year anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation as president. This singular event is now far enough away from us to feel like a finished chapter in our history. After all this time, however, there is still much about Nixon's downfall that is not widely understood. If anything, the story continues to deepen.
On July 29, we will release Ken Hughes's new book, Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate. Bob Woodward calls Hughes "one of American's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings," and in Chasing Shadows Hughes draws from his unprecedented access to the tapes of both Nixon and Lyndon Johnson to show how the Watergate break-in was part of a larger pattern of behavior, stretching back to the 1968 presidential campaign. The trailer for the book is online now.
Buildings of Michigan Honored
Congratulations to Kathryn Eckert, whose revised edition of Buildings of Michigan was selected by the Michigan Architectural Foundation as part of Rae Dumke Collection of 100 Essential Architecture Books.
To commemorate Frank Lloyd Wright's 147th birthday, we are happy to highlight two forthcoming volumes: Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House by Steven M. Reiss and Frank Lloyd Wright: Preservation, Design, and Adding to Iconic Buildings edited by Richard Longstreth.
The first volume, which recounts the history of one of Wright's early Usonian houses, is at heart a tale of four people: Loren and Charlotte Pope, who approached Wright about designing a home for their family, and Marjorie and Robert Leighey, who purchased the house from the Popes and deeded the property to the National Trust to save it from demolition.
Loren Pope described the house with these words in his article "The Love Affair of a Man and His House," published by House Beautiful in August 1948: "Ours is a big small house for a small family. It is L-shaped, one-story on two levels because the lot slopes, with living room eleven-and-a-half feet high, and a red-colored concrete floor. For light, ventilation, and decoration this house has a patterned ribbon of clerestory windows between the top of the wall and the ceiling. The only support for the roof where they ran was a strut the size of your wrist placed every four feet, the width of a window unit. You can sit by the fireplace at night and see the stars. It has rows of plate glass doors from floor to ceiling where an ordinary house has a single window. Where these doors meet a corner, there is no corner post, the room just opens into the outdoors.
Nash in Washington Post
Stephen Nash, author of the forthcoming Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform our Cities, Shorelines and Forests, has an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post. Nash provides the facts about climate change as it relates to Virginia to emphasize the urgent need for the state legislature's GOP majority to change its mindset.
Greens Crazy in Italy
It had been a few months since we heard from Jeffrey Greene, an American scholar living in France and author of the much-loved Golden-Bristled Boar. As he researches his next book, on wild edibles, Jeff has contributed several superb pieces to our blog (like this...or this), and now he is back with a story posted from Liguria and its surprisingly edible countryside.
A Storied Building
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, we're pleased to present one of the many entries focusing on civil rights from the forthcoming Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest volume, the Robert Rossa Moton Museum, originally Moton High School, in Prince Edward County.
Spring in Virginia
Winter took a long time this year to loosen its grip—only five or six weeks ago we were shoveling snow—but we are currently enjoying a spectacular spring in Virginia. While this perfection lasts, we wanted to get some thoughts on spring in the Commonwealth from Ben Greenberg, photographer and author of Natural Virginia, a collection of his stunning panoramic photography.
Ritvo on Counting Sheep
Readers who enjoyed Nobel Cows and Hybrid Zebras by Harret Ritvo, the pioneering scholar in animals studies, will want to watch the video interview just posted on the Faculti web site. In it, Ritvo discusses the creation of this book and goes into fascinating detail about one of the essays collected in the book, "Counting Sheep in the English Lake District."