Citizen Hughes reveals the enigmatic billionaire as a frightened, ruthless and scary mean man. The picture that emerges makes one think that, instead of feeling sorry for how Hughes turned out (isolated, terrified, and alone), perhaps one should feel that justice was simply being visited on the scheming manipulator.
In real life, justice never touched that bony hand with the curling fingernails. Howard Hughes, unlike President Nixon, John Erlichman, John Dean, H.R. Haldeman and the “smaller fry” of the infamous Watergate scandal, kept the secret of his involvement in one of the biggest political scandals in history.
Hughes had attempted to buy the federal government to the tune of $100,000 in cash, and that fact was covered up by order of the President of the United States, Richard Nixon himself, to break into the Democratic National Headquarters. Drosnin has uncovered previously infamous yet elusive private papers of Howard Hughes, authenticated by two well-known and respected handwriting experts, Ordway Hilton and John J. Harris. Drosnin has the corroboration from Jeb Magruder that the order for the infamous break-in came from Nixon’s own mouth, and that the reason was to cover that $100,000 bribe that Nixon had accepted. Magruder gave Drosnin this information at the time of Citizen Hughes original writing, and Drosnin could not reveal it until Magruder’s PBS interview last year, when he admitted that Nixon initiated the Watergate debacle.
Hughes has always been known as eccentric (read crazy) and even as a participant in shady dealings, but this information leads one to question his very moral fiber - or lack thereof. Apart from the little-known government bribery story, there are also vivid and often stomach-turning revelations of the infamous Hughes compulsions. He saved his own urine yet insisted that employees use between six to twenty toilet tissues to open doors and turn on water faucets to protect him from their germs. This information came from former Hughes employees.
Citizen Hughes is a haunted-house ride through the sad side of Hughes’ life as well as the nationally manipulative side of his personality. Any political history buff, Hughes aficionado, talk show fan, or anyone who likes salacious stories about the rich and famous will find this book a compelling read.