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Woodward's secret is still safe...,
This review is from: In Search Of Deep Throat: The Greatest Political Mystery Of Our Time (Hardcover)
In Search of Deep Throat is at once both interesting and not very good. Garment is not really a writer. The book would have been better if written by a reporter. Instead, like the lawyer that he is, Garment feels compelled to establish the facts of the case first, so he devotes too much space to outlining what happened in Watergate. The book really shouldn't need to do this because Watergate could and has been the subject of entire books. If the reader doesn't know about Watergate already, he or she has no reason to be interested in Deep Throat's identity.
The second problem is with Garment's treatment of suspects that he rules out. He repeatedly makes reference to theories or theorists who speculate that X was Deep Throat, without identifying who forwarded such theories and how they were forwarded. The book would be far more interesting if it catalogued various Deep Throat theories in greater detail. Perhaps even worse, Garment discounts various candidates apparently based on their temperament, their apparent loyalty to Nixon, their presumed aversion to the type of sneakiness perpetrated by Deep Throat or some other very superficial reason.
It gets worse. Garment rules someone out based on his wife's first glance at the suspect's wife. He settles on John Sears (this is not letting the cat out of the bag - Garment identifies Sears within the first few pages) in part because it makes sense to his wife. I was hoping that the case for Sears would be stronger than the case against others. This was not to be. At one point, Garment lays out a relatively compelling case that Sen. Robert F. Bennett was Deep Throat. He then concludes that Bennett was not basically, I guess, because he doesn't smoke and drink. Patrick Gray is ruled out because...why? I'm not sure.
Garment's Sears theory is dependent in part on Sears secretly actually being two sources in All the President's Men. Garment thinks Sears is a Bernstein source because the material supplied by this source sounds like Sears to Garment. That presumption was why Garment hadn't really thought about Sears as Deep Throat before. Then it occurred to him that Woodward and Bernstein did not always reveal their sources to each other, so Sears could have been a source for both. Other than that, Garment's basic case for Sears is that his mannerisms seem compatible to those attributed to Deep Throat in All the President's Men.
There are a few big problems with this. The first is that Woodward revealed Deep Throat's identity to Bernstein. Even if Woodward didn't know that Sears was a source for Bernstein, Bernstein would know that Sears was Deep Throat. Why would Bernstein allow him to be turned into two characters for the book he co-wrote? The other problem is that Bernstein's source interacted with Bernstein in a completely different way than Deep Throat did with Woodward. Deep Throat was extremely secretive - Bernstein's source was not nearly so. Why would the same person insist on cloak-and-dagger tactics to communicate with Woodward while at the same time apparently taking phone calls from Bernstein?
If there is an answer to that question, it is not in the book. The book would be more interesting anyway with more concrete evidence, such as evidence that Sears was or was not in one place or another on one date or another. Phone records, testimony, etc. are all missing. Garment basically makes his case based almost entirely on his assessment of different personalities. The topic itself is inherently interesting enough to have inspired me to read the book quickly, but in the end I still don't feel like I know who Deep Throat is.