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All the President's Men Mass Market Paperback – June 24, 2005
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"The New York Times" A fast-moving mystery, a whodunit written with ease.... A remarkable book. Dan Rather An authentic thriller. "The Denver Post" Fascinating, stimulating....One of the greatest detective stories ever told. "Publishers Weekly" Exhilarating and candid...trip-hammer reportage. "The New Republic" Much more than a 'hot book.' It is splendid reading...of enormous value....A very human story. "Much more than a 'hot book.' It is splendid reading...of enormous value....A very human story."-- "The New Republic" "The New Republic"Much more than a "hot book." It is splendid reading...of enormous value....A very human story. "A fast-moving mystery, a whodunit written with ease....A remarkable book."-- "The New York Times" "Exhilarating and candid...trip-hammer reportage."-- "Publishers Weekly"
About the Author
Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for thirty-seven years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post's coverage of the Watergate scandal, and later for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored twelve #1 national nonfiction bestsellers. He is the author of Obama's Wars, The War Within, Bush at War, Plan of Attack, and State of Denial, among others.
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Well, duh! The book has it all. Not in the tidy, linear progression from the morning after the Watergate break-in through the last explosive story clearly implicating Tricky Dick as in the movie, but rather the more realistic slice-of-life, back and forth and all around movements in search of tips, confirmations, just one more corroborating source so that day's story could be written and printed. Here we see the amazing scoops, the missed targets, dead-end ideas, leaps of faith, and more important, the dogged determination to know the larger story in all its awful complexity and sleazy criminality, using methods necessary in those pre-Gooogle days that would exhaust even the most robust investigative reported today.
The authors write like reporters---no purple prose, no unnecessary verbiage, few if any adjectives and adverbs, in a spare style that would please Sergeant Joe Friday and his predilection for "Just the facts, ma'am." The authors share their successes, and there were many, in a restrained manner just this side of "Aw, shucks," and do not shy away from their faults and close brushes with disaster because they made rookie reporter mistakes or tried pushing a particular envelope not only too far but almost off the table.
An excellent tale that, despite the obvious indices of "the way things were back in the day," still resonates today. Perhaps especially today.
All the Presidents Men is an unorthodox book in that its not the definitive story of Watergate, rather the tale of how Woodward and Bernstein got at the story of Watergate. Yet, through all their efforts, one arrives at a version of Watergate. (If that makes sense.) We meet the power-hungry villains and the good men who got caught up in the scandal and the reader is taken on a 350 page thrill ride, which is really hard to do when one knows the outcome of Watergate. I as a reader was sitting there on the edge of my seat wondering “Is this the moment it all falls apart for these guys”?
Does one get the absolute truth from All the Presidents Men? Probably not, but it may be closest we come depending on how much weight and credibility one gives the memoirs of Nixon officials.
President Nixon and his morally-challenged acolytes did a great amount of harm that involved theft, illegal wiretapping, slush funds, obstruction of justice, and highly unethical campaign espionage as well as sabotage. The President's mindset, active participation, and surrounding himself with like-minded people to set this odious FUBAR into motion still impacts today's politics. The Republicans seem to have embraced these sort of tactics with more enthusiasm with such nasty political architects as Lee Atwater and the troll's disciple Karl Rove. It took a great deal of hard work and courage for the reporters to continually knock on doors and revisit uncooperative people. Fortunately for Woodward and Bernstein, they also were supported by able editors, the colorful Ben Bradlee and the owner Katharine Graham. For many months, the Washington Post was the only news organization that was trying to unravel the mystery and were especially hated by the White House. Nixon's paranoia and deep hatred of the press caused him to have zero qualms about trying to destroy the Post. This was serious hardball, folks. Once the investigations produced solid evidence that Tricky Dick and the other powerbrokers around him were in on the whole thing, it became every man out for himself in the administration with backstabbing others becoming the norm.
Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein were very forthright about not only describing the triumphs but also their mistakes including some of their actions going over the line of proper journalism. It was very helpful that the book has photos of all the key players in the story. It's quite a gallery of rogues. Also, the Afterword written for the 40th-Anniversary edition does a good job explaining the seriousness, motivations and repercussions of President Nixon's unseemly actions. This is great riveting history. After finishing the book, I wondered, "Is it too late to dig up President Nixon and have him impeached?"