Ken Hughes

Fast Facts

  • Bob Woodward called Hughes "one of America's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings"
  • Has spent two decades mining the Secret White House Tapes
  • Expertise on Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Secret White House Tapes, abuses of presidential power, Watergate, Vietnam War

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • Governance
  • Leadership
  • Political Parties and Movements
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Bob Woodward has called Ken Hughes “one of America's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings, especially those of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.” Hughes has spent two decades mining the Secret White House Tapes and unearthing their secrets. As a journalist writing in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, and Boston Globe Magazine, and, since 2000, as a researcher with the Miller Center, Hughes’s work has illuminated the uses and abuses of presidential power involved in (among other things) the origins of Watergate, Jimmy Hoffa’s release from federal prison, and the politics of the Vietnam War. 

Hughes has been interviewed by the New York Times, CBS News, CNN, PBS NewsHour, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and other news organizations. He is the author of Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate and Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War and the Casualties of Reelection.

Hughes is currently at work on a book about President John F. Kennedy’s hidden role in the coup plot that resulted in the overthrow and assassination of another president, Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. 


Ken Hughes News Feed

Historian Ken Hughes, a renowned expert on secret presidential recordings and author of two books on Richard Nixon’s criminality, talks about the ongoing fascination with Watergate, and whether comedy or satire is as effective as drama in portraying the extraordinary events that wrecked Nixon's presidency.
Ken Hughes History As It Happens
If the White House had gone public with this information, the outrage might also have swung the election to Humphrey. But Johnson hesitated. “This is treason,” he said, as quoted in Ken Hughes’s excellent "Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate." “It would rock the world.”
Ken Hughes The Nation
Ken Hughes, a researcher at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia, whose book “Chasing Shadows” chronicled the Nixon campaign’s efforts to impede peace talks, said Mr. Nixon had a strong lead in the polls over Mr. Humphrey in mid-September. By mid-October, Mr. Nixon’s lead was down to eight percentage points. Then, days before the election, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam, and the news media began reporting chatter of looming talks to end the war.
Ken Hughes The New York Times
“The goal, the principle is that the president, like every other American citizen, is not above the law. And congressional hearings are one way to ensure that the president does not put himself above the law,” Ken Hughes, a historian with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, told VOA.
Ken Hughes Voice of America
Unlike Afghanistan, which fell before all U.S. troops could be withdrawn, the South Vietnamese government remained in power for more than two years after the Jan. 27, 1973, peace accord, heralded by President Richard Nixon as “an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.” But Ken Hughes, an American presidential historian with the UVA Miller Center, believes the effort was less about “peace and honor” and more about reelection. The author of “Chasing Shadows” and “Fatal Politics,” Hughes has deeply researched the Nixon White House’s tape recordings. He said conversations show Nixon and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were more concerned with reelection than the future of its ally when negotiating the agreement signed 50 years ago.
Ken Hughes UVA Today
Nixon's abuses of presidential power may pale beside Trump's
The Conversation