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Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat Hardcover – March 5, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Holland has given clarity to a misunderstood, complicated, and murky story. A probing, revealing, and necessary addition to the Watergate saga.” --Stanley Kutler, author of The Wars of Watergate

“Lucidly written and prodigiously researched, this gripping corrective deserves five out of five stars—plus a Bravo!” --Irwin F. Gellman, author of The Contender: Richard Nixon, the Congress Years, 1946–1952

“Convincingly destroys the myth of Deep Throat’s alleged altruism.” --Keith Olson, author of Watergate: The Presidential Scandal That Shook America

About the Author

Max Holland is editor of the website Washington Decoded, contributing editor to the Wilson Quarterly and The Nation, and author of The Kennedy Assassination Tapes: The White House Conversations of Lyndon B. Johnson Regarding the Assassination, the Warren Commission, and the Aftermath. He received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for a forthcoming book on the Warren Commission.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618293
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #817,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Max Holland is a journalist, author, and editor of Washington Decoded, an online publication.

A 1972 graduate of Antioch College, he is a contributing editor to The Nation and the Wilson Quarterly, and sits on the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence. He is the author, editor, or co-author of six books, most recently Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat (University Press of Kansas, March 2012) and Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (Texas A&M University Press, September 2012).

His articles have appeared in a variety of general and scholarly publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, American Heritage, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Studies in Intelligence, the Journal of Cold War Studies, Reviews in American History, and online at History News Network. He has also received numerous grants in support of his research and writing, including fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, National Endowment for the Humanities, German Marshall Fund, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

In 2001, Holland won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, bestowed jointly by Harvard University's Nieman Foundation and the Columbia University School of Journalism, for a forthcoming narrative history of the Warren Commission, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf. That same year he won a Studies in Intelligence Award from the Central Intelligence Agency, the first writer working outside the US government to be so recognized. In 1989, Business Week named his first book, When the Machine Stopped, one of the top ten business books of the year.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book in two sittings and hated putting it down. For anyone who remembers the Watergate scandal, and went to see the movie "All the President's Men," this book is a piece of stunning revisionism, forcing you to re-think everything you thought you knew about the Watergate incident. In particular it is a cautionary work about the relationship of journalists to government officials, a far cry from the heroic myth perpetuated by Woodward and Bernstein. Holland has done an extraordinary job in his detective work, demonstrating a willingness to ask the questions that the two famous Washington Post reporters never did. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Nixon years and recent American political history.
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By Bill Burr on March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Leak is a terrific book. A number of reviewers and commentators have noted that Leak is a `page turner,' and they're absolutely right. Some readers may think they already know the story of Felt as `Deep Throat', but Holland's enthralling narrative forces rethinking about why and how Felt became a leaker, who he leaked to, who first discovered that he was a leaker, and why he had to leave the FBI. Although one reviewer criticized Holland for basing his interpretation on `circumstantial evidence', for this reader, the author makes a compelling and persuasive case that Felt was not trying to bring down a president but to win a `war of succession' in the FBI. The author's new transcripts of important Nixon tapes and interviews with key officials, including then-acting FBI director William Ruckelshaus, add to the richness of the narrative. Leak is a fine contribution to our knowledge of the history of the Nixon administration and of the FBI.
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Format: Hardcover
Great book it expose Mark Felt as a snake that he was. He basically used the Post, Woodward and Bernstein to destroy his rival Patrick Gray and advance his own ambitions to become the FBI director.
Mark Felt was portrayed as a man sickened by the wiretaps and break-ins by the White House, but Felt himself, writes Holland, "authorized illegal surreptitious entries into the homes of people associated with the Weather Underground."
If Felt was a hero, why did he not come forward to tell the country what he had done and why? Because he was no hero. Mark Felt was a snake.
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Format: Hardcover
Leak, by Max Holland is a fascinating narrative. As one who lived through this Constitutional crisis, I was familiar with all the events and personalities. I also had read many other books about Watergate, but that was twenty to thirty years ago. Leak fills in the holes and makes sense of many of the incongruities in the Watergate scandal. The perspective of time and the unveiling of Deep Throat allowed Holland to add significantly to the history of Watergate. Future works by historians will include many references to Leak, Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat.

Holland's premise is that Mark Felt did not intend to bring down Richard Nixon. In fact, he was maneuvering to politically destroy Patrick Gray (Acting Director) so Nixon would appoint him Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He does an excellent job of proving his case. Holland puts an end to the reputation of Deep Throat as a selfless patriot leaking as a matter of conscience. He not only leaked for the petty goal of his own advancement, Holland shows that much of what he leaked was false or misleading--not because he didn't know it was wrong, but because it served his purpose.
Contemporaneous reporting, the Watergate hearings, and All the Presidents Men (book and film) created a myth that two youthful Washington Post reporters brought down the president of the United States. Holland writes, "As with all myths, what really powered it was not the veneer of truth, but the fact that people wanted to believe it was true."

Another vessel for Felt leaks was Sandy Smith, of Time magazine. In 1986, he said, "There's a myth that the press did all this, uncovered all the crimes. ... It's bunk. The press didn't do it. People forget that the government was investigating all the time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who grew up with Watergate as part of the political theater of our tim,e reading this book was like learning there really isn't a Santa Claus.

Instead of an intrepid reporter digging for a story, the truth turns out to be that Woodward was a patsy in a much bigger game: Deep Throat was actually the number two in the FBI trying to discredit his boss to get his job. The revelation was a smack on the side of my head. Another myth punctured.

But worse has been the 40 year spin perpetuated by Woodward and Bernstein (even after they knew his motives) was that Deep Throat was an altruistic bureaucrat trying to save his country was simply a bald face lie. And that they were played like suckers. So much for historic journalistic myths.

The truth reads like a spy novel. Amazing forensic reporting by the author.

BTW, this is probably the worst cover art I've seen on a serious piece of history.
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Format: Hardcover
Max Holland's "The Kennedy Assassination Tapes" was the result of prodigous and scrupulous research. "Leak" is a splendid encore.

It is tautly, crisply written and often suspenseful. I read it in a couple of stimumulating sittings even as I lingered in awe at the scope of the source notes. Holland explains Watergate intrigues in ways that few Americans would have previously appreciated. The cast of Nixon administration and FBI characters is vividly portrayed, and Deep Throat (Mark Felt) emerges as anything but the noble, selfless secret source of media mythology.

Highly recommended for generalist readers and specialists alike.
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