If you missed my Monday program with Richard Norton Smith which was largely devoted to his new book Nelson Rockefeller: On His Own Terms, you missed a wonderful show and an education in the GOP wars of 50 years ago –and today. Thus the audio and transcript below are an early Christmas present to you:
HH: Today, I’m joined for the entire show by my friend, Richard Norton Smith, whom many of you hear every President’s Day in a show that we taped years ago talking about all the presidents. Richard, of course, is the extraordinarily gifted presidential historian and a biographer of Thomas Dewey and Robert McCormick, as well as Herbert Hoover and George Washington. He is the official historian of C-SPAN, he’s been my friend of 40 years. And Richard, welcome, it’s great to speak to you about your brand new book, On His Own Terms: A Life Of Nelson Rockefeller, good to have you.
RNS: Well, and Merry Christmas.
HH: Merry Christmas to you. This is a terrific book. And I’m going to quote Nelson Rockefeller on Page 255 of your book.
RNS: And that’s something you don’t do as a rule.
HH: No, I don’t. I wrote this down as soon as I saw it. The best way to read a book is to get an author to tell you about it. But dyslexia is at the heart of this book…
HH: And I think that’s one of the reasons he liked to talk about books with authors.
RNS: Yeah, and it’s one of those humanizing details that he shied away from during his lifetime. He was of that generation of men, well, you know, he’s a classic illustration of how the very rich get the worst medical treatment.
RNS: You know, he had this osteopath who was a sidekick, and an occasional procurer, but, well, Nelson probably would not have died when he did if he’d had a different medical regimen. But dyslexia was something, it’s interesting, because it did shape his life in ways that were profound. He, first of all, he never heard the word until he was 50 years old. And it’s, you know, it’s interesting, doing a life of Nelson Rockefeller, it’s not your conventional political biography. Continue Reading