Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Watergate : a new history
Where is it?
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews
Library Journal Review
Journalist Graff (The Only Plane in the Sky) endeavors to retell the complete story of the June 17, 1972, Watergate break-in, a breach of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters during the U.S. presidential campaign, which was followed by the Nixon administration's attempt to cover up its involvement. Readers recognize that the metonym "Watergate" connotes clandestine and sometimes illegal use of departments of the federal government (FBI, CIA, and IRS), as well as other political charges. Graff admits that his newly published book, like others, leaves unanswered who ordered the DNC break-in, whether the goal was political information or extortion, and Deep Throat's motive for cooperating with the Washington Post. As he tells, consequences included temporary changes in campaign financing, momentary curbs on executive power, and no subsequent recording of presidential conversations in the Oval Office. Based on existing primary and extensive secondary sources--the Nixon administration is one of the most documented in history--but no new interviews, this book succeeds in reprising the facts for those general readers unacquainted with them. Practicing historians will already recognize many of the incidents. VERDICT The 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in in 2022 will undoubtedly witness an abundance of books with which to compare this work.--Frederick J. Augustyn Jr.
Publishers Weekly Review
Journalist Graff (The Only Plane in the Sky) sheds new light on the Watergate scandal in this exhaustive history. Drawing on memoirs, tape recordings, court transcripts, and recently declassified FBI documents, Graff highlights the paranoia and ambition that ran through the Nixon administration, from the distrust between the president and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, to disagreements between chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, White House counsel John Dean, and campaign chairman John Mitchell. Though Nixon's campaigns had always involved "a certain abnormal level of dirty tricks," according to Graff, a series of leaks and scandals including the release of the Pentagon Papers helped push his aides to new heights of "skullduggery," orchestrating break-ins at the Brookings Institution in 1971 and the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate building in 1972. Graff skillfully interweaves the perspectives of journalists and law enforcement officials investigating the Watergate break-in with the Nixon team's attempts to "use the organs of government to cover up their own rogue operation," and incisively analyzes how the congressional inquiry into the scandal resulted in Democrats and Republicans coming together to uphold the Constitution and limit the powers of the president. Expertly researched and assembled, this is a valuable introduction to one of history's greatest political scandals. Agent: Howard Yoon, Ross Yoon Agency. (Feb.)
Kirkus Review
A half-century after the Watergate break-in, this anniversary history becomes the standard-setting base line for all future ones. For all of Richard Nixon's achievements, the sometimes-unbelievable, always lurid Watergate scandal forever stains his reputation. Graff, the director of cyber initiatives at the Aspen Institute, sees the crisis as the result of amateurish fumbling rather than criminal forethought, but he attributes to the Nixon administration the "darker, racialized, nativist, fear-mongering strain of the Republican Party and American politics that would a half century later find its natural conclusion in Donald Trump." Letting the story speak for itself, Graff intervenes principally to point to inconsistencies in participants' testimonies or subjects for further investigation, such as a tantalizing thread of links to Chile. The text is a brisk, riveting, compulsively readable, comprehensive, up-to-date narrative of the entire tangled affair, and it's hard to imagine it better told. While you learn new things about the major figures, people you've never heard of, all masterfully introduced and as numerous, colorful, deceitful, and laugh-inducing as characters in a Dickens' novel, walk on stage. Back-biting, betrayals, interagency spying, wild improvisation, collective paranoia, and sheer White House chaos are running leitmotifs. Much of this is well known. Graff's contribution is to bring it all together, add his sharp-eyed questions about what doesn't make sense or still needs to be known, and energetically drive forward the story of what's known from available evidence. The book's principal limitations are its inattention to the outside pressures--legal challenges, mounting public outcry, and the like--that contributed to the scandal's outcome and to historians' contribution to the House Impeachment Inquiry. Graff also downplays the value of the Nixon tapes, which Michael Dobbs explored insightfully in King Richard. But in every other respect, this should be considered the authoritative history of its subject. Now the best and fullest account of the Watergate crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Plane in the Sky , the first definitive narrative history of Watergate, exploring the full scope of the scandal through the politicians, investigators, journalists, and informants who made it the most influential political event of our modern era. In the early hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard named Frank Wills entered six words into the log book of the Watergate office complex that would change the course of history: 1:47 AM Found tape on doors; call police. The five ​men--Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Baker, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis--arrested and charged with attempted burglary that night kicked off the biggest scandal in American politics. Over the next two years, that single thwarted break-in would lead to dozens more arrests, an alleged kidnapping, FBI and congressional investigations, a Senate hearing, and bombshell testimonies from the highest levels of political power that ultimately would reveal a cover-up, sink a vice-president and a half-dozen Cabinet officials, lead to the jailing of an FBI director, end a presidency, and alter our views of moral authority and leadership. Watergate defined a decade, and a nation. And yet, recent revelations like the release of more Nixon tapes and the identity of "Deep Throat" himself, means that the full story has never been told from start to finish. Now, in Watergate, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Garrett M. Graff explores the full sweep of the scandal that would come to define all others, from the release of The Pentagon Papers in 1971--the first signs of trouble for the White House--and the 1972 DNC break-in to the denials, trials, hearings, and eventual downfall of the Nixon Administration three years later--the implications of which we still feel today. Watergate, Graff shows, is a much bigger and much weirder story than America remembers. Along the way, he introduces a vibrant cast of characters, including the psychologically tortured President and his doomed inner circle, special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, the Congressional committees led by Sam Ervin and Peter Rodino, groundbreaking reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and Mark Felt, an Associate Director of the FBI who would conceal his identity for decades behind the name "Deep Throat," as well a host of others whose involvement has been forgotten--from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to a young impeachment aide named Hillary Rodham. Grippingly told, meticulously researched, and featuring new details and never-told stories, Watergate is the defining, behind-the-scenes look at the era that upended the course of American politics--and life--as we knew it.
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1