From Publishers Weekly
Casting the 66th attorney general and Watergate felon as the most upright man in the Nixon administration is faint praise indeed, to judge by this biography. Fox News correspondent Rosen applauds Mitchell for his tough law-and-order policies, school-desegregation efforts and hard line against leftist radicals, and for enduring wife Martha's alcoholic breakdowns and raving late-night phone calls to reporters. The book's heart is Rosen's meticulous, exhaustively researched study of Mitchell's Watergate role, absolving him of ordering the break-in and most other charges leveled against him. Instead, Mitchell is painted as a force for propriety who was framed by others—especially White House counsel John Dean, who comes off as Watergate's evil genius. (Rosen also claims Watergate burglar James McCord was secretly working for the CIA and deliberately sabotaged the break-in.) Unfortunately, Rosen's salutes to Mitchell's integrity and reverence for the law clash with his accounts of the man's misdeeds: undermining the Paris peace talks, suborning and committing perjury, tolerating the criminal scheming in Nixon's White House and re-election campaign. Mitchell may have blanched at the Nixon administration's sleazy intrigues, as Rosen insists, but he seems not to have risen above them. (Feb. 19)
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After Richard Nixon lost the gubernatorial race in California, in 1962, he moved to New York to practice law and fell in with John Mitchell, a self-assured municipal-bond lawyer, who went on to run Nixons 1968 Presidential campaign and serve as Attorney General. Mitchells fame, such as it was, sprang from Watergate; in 1975, he went to prison for his role in the cover-up, and never broke his silence about the affair. Rosen, a correspondent for Fox News, believes that Mitchells story has not been properly told. He spent years researching his life and his downfall, and arrived at the fascinatingand disputedtheory that the White House counsel John Dean was the mastermind behind the Watergate break-in. Mitchell, with a public image of beady-eyed, pipe-smoking arrogance, was never a lovable figure, but he was in many ways a sad one. Particularly wrenching for him was the fate of his wife, Martha, who was regarded as a somewhat comical figurea Southern Gracie Allen for the Nixon eraeven as she was falling apart.
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