Wednesday's release of 340 hours of audio promises to be equally revealing, with material on Watergate and conversations between Nixon and Henry Kissinger, three future presidents, and celebrities Billy Graham and soccer superstar Pele.
The recordings cover a period that includes the resignation of two top White House staffers and the attorney general in one day, the appointment of a special Watergate prosecutor, and the formation of a the Senate committee that would elicit damning testimony precipitating Nixon's political demise.
Nixon nonetheless kept busy with diplomacy that yielded important peace talks with the Soviets and a thawing relationship with China — events also reflected on the tapes.
He met with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in June 1973 for the only summit ever recorded on an American presidential taping system. The meeting was a follow-up to Nixon's visit to the Kremlin the year before and was the first attempt at U.S-hosted peace talks with the Soviets in six years.
The tapes also include material on the Vietnam peace settlement and the return of hundreds of POWs to U.S. soil.
Faced with impeachment and a possible criminal indictment, Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974 — a little more than a year after the tapes end — and retreated to his native California, where he was pardoned a month later by Ford.