by Phoebe Adams
by Random House, $7.95. Solemn as a tombstone. Mr. Hoyt presents the history of the Nixon family in sugary grammar-school prose, with a general handing out of halos. It is fairly stupefying to contemplate a family which, in over two centuries on this continent, has failed to produce a single horse thief or deadbeat. The author professes to have discovered almost nothing about the Nixons in their pre-American incarnation, but readers interested in this area will find Nixons (or Nicksouns) in The Steel Bonnets (Knopf, $8.95), a history of the anarchic sixteenth century on the English-Scottish frontier. The author. George MacDonald Fraser, reports that “the sons of Nick were a troublesome breed,” allied to the terrible Armstrongs and described as having many “loose men.” In plain words, robbers and raiders on both sides of the border..