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Watergate: The Presidential Scandal That Shook America Paperback – May 17, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (May 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700612513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700612512
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this brief but excellent volume, University of Maryland historian Olson (whose The G.I. Bill: The Veterans and the Colleges was runnerup for the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize) provides an elegant, succinct account of the event that took center stage in American political life some 30 years ago. Providing what he calls "a layman's guide to Watergate," Olson does a first-rate job of narrating the White House-approved break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex and its aftermath-most importantly, the dramatic proceedings of the Senate Watergate Committee, chaired by Sam Ervin-in a vivid, engaging and readable manner. Olson is a natural storyteller completely at home with one of the great tales of American politics in the late 20th century. The cast of characters is fascinating: the so-called "Plumbers," who executed the break-in, including the mercurial but brilliant former CIA operative, E. Howard Hunt; the hungry muckrakers Woodward and Bernstein; the nebulous "Deep Throat" (about whose identity Olson makes no guesses); the indefatigable Judge John J. Sirica; and Nixon henchmen Charles Colson, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. Though not as in-depth as Stanley Kutler's benchmark Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon, Olson's book provides an excellent, compact narrative of a crucial moment in the history of the American presidency. 20 photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Watergate remains the most dramatic, sensational and, ultimately, significant political scandal in American history. Keith Olson's tightly-woven narrative recounts that infamous story with verve and a sharp eye for telling detail. His book should appeal to a wide readership." Stanley Kutler, Author Of Wars Of Watergate: The Last Crisis Of Richard Nixon; "A smart, well-written, concise critique of the dark unraveling of the Nixon White House. A truly wonderful read." Douglas Brinkley, Author Of American Heritage History Of The United States; "Olson's taut and telling overview of the Watergate debacle provides a masterful recounting of Richard Nixon's self-immolation." David Farber, Author Of The Age Of Great Dreams: America In The 1960s

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
As someone who has read several books on Watergate, I have to ask: why was this published? It contains no new research, no new interviews, no revelations. The entire book is cobbled together from other books, which means that far too many important points and details are glossed over or ignored. What's worse is Olson's prose, so flat and lackluster that it reads like a description of a Senate Appropriations Bill, rather than as the story of the greatest constitutional crisis of the 20th century. Don't be fooled by the inexplicable raves on the cover-this is barely adequate at best. For a thorough and compelling read on Nixon's downfall, read Fred Emery's Watergate instead.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Taut summary account of the Watergate tale. This era remains in memory as a series of journalistic fragments and television images half-remembered. It is useful to redo the tape to assemble a fully coherent image and this work is an excellent short history and analysis, from the Plumbers to Deep Throat to nervous breakdown and resignation, exeunt omnes, quite a few, save but one, with no get out of jail free card. The book brings in a theme by way of diagnosis in terms of the corrosive effect of the 'imperial presidency' and the covert perversions of 'presidential will' proceeding in Cold War prerogative as progressive Machiavellian disease to the Nixonesque fatal dosage. As a mere peon here not fooled for once, one is struck by the curious impudence of incompetent villainy, and the strange fortune that a picture of rank dishonesty starting as routine business as usual as if this were all presumed is what finally led to exposure. One gets the bad feeling the other smiling faces in the photo ops are less incompetent, no proof of virtue.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Homer Simpson on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I agree with the "pointless" review here, but want to suggest starting with the incredible Anthony Lukas book "Nightmare" before Emery. THE LUKAS BOOK IS SIMPLY THE BEST INTRODUCTORY BOOK ON WATERGATE EVER WRITTEN. For those who seek a deeper understanding after Lukas, turn to Kutler.

This book is horribly conceived, organized, and written. It is a travesty that any hungry student should swallow this tripe when much better books are out there!
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