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It Didn't Start With Watergate Hardcover – May, 1977

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Lasky's blockbuster...is both a literary and a political event!" -- William Safire

From The Washington Post

"Plenty of pummelling facts...quite a plateful..."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: E P Dutton (May 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803738579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803738577
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The claim that "a good, fair impartial investigation" was to be held during the Watergate hearings on Nixon's role in the break-in and subsequent cover-up never materialized. Instead, the Senatorial committee provided TV melodrama. This well documented book permits comparisons of past political behavior with the tricky manuevering of todays D.C. Elite. Only the names change. In Washington one is not permitted to be above the fray. The techniques and methods of yesteryear are still with us.
Lasky describes the shoddy journalism of clearly biased news sources. The same agenda reporting is obvious in todays major media. The press has been, and still is, more likely to cover the failings of their ideological opponents. As Lasky continually illustrates, media favorites were seldom scrutinized and never were these miscreants taken to task.
Documented throughout with private testimony, Commitee testimony, news accounts and some government agency reports, Lasky's reportage dips far back into the vindictive actions of Franklin Roosevelt. We are led through the Truman administration into both the unethical and illegal acts of the Kennedys. Finally capping this accounting of dirty tricks with a near out of control LBJ. Many of the lesser participants are studied.
Vote fraud and wiretapping have always been with us. Illegal abuse of Presidential power has been exercised since at least as early as FDR's administration. N.Y. Congressman Hamilton Fish, an opponent of FDR's New Deal and a leader of the antiwar movement, was on FDR's enemies list. As such he had his telephones tapped and suffered five years of IRS audits that Fish contended cost him at least $50,000 to respond to and resulted in a refund of $80.
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By A Customer on October 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is Lasky's finest hour. He turns up the heat and scorches everyone who thought Nixon was guilty of Watergate. First reading off the jaw-dropping crimes of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, and LBJ. He successfully points out that Watergate was a tea party compared to what they did. Also, he shows how their mistakes trickled down to the next president and then to Nixon.
Next, he shows how Watergate built up into a, to use one of Lasky's favorite terms, "pseudo-event" that a biased press and congress used to draw and quarter Nixon. After explaining their biases and why they had them, he exposes the fraudulence of the proceedings and the crushing verdict.
Finally, he delivers the pies de resistance--The Watergate fallout. Following the charge and an ever-apparent conviction in the Senate, Nixon now has no choice but to resign. Even the liberals will have to feel the pain as he gives full accounts of the last hours in the office. Coming to the conclusion that everyone gained nothing from all that hullaballoo, he ends very simply :
"Then he was gone."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The usual defense of a criminal when caught is "everybody does it." But sometimes, of course, everybody does do it.

Victor Lasky, a conservative columnist, provides a brief guide from the "everybody does it" perspective. Lasky explores the slippery slopes where "hard ball" politics merges into the illegal underworld, the underside of American federal politics. And it didn't start with Watergate.

"In May 1973...Bob Considine asked John Roosevelt, the President's youngest son, what he thought about the scandal. John Roosevelt responded, "I can't understand all the commotion in this case. Hell, my father just about invented bugging. Had them spread all over, and thought nothing of it." (P.168)

Lasky discusses the Kennedy's questionable election victory over Nixon in 1960, their surveillance of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy's "gloves off" (and maybe illegal) campaign against Jimmy Hoffa, JFK's "mysterious fortune", the "Murder Incorporated" (to use LBJ's words) the Kennedys were running in the Caribbean, the bugging campaign against Goldwater (that seems to have been a lot more effective and better run than anything the Nixon campaign attempted), LBJ's tactics at the 1964 Democratic Convention and other incidents. The reader gets the impression the Nixonites were if anything second raters in this game. Lasky certainly portrays the Establishment liberals as the masters of this murky world. At least they were then. To my mind, maybe a more accurate reading is that the Nixonites had the bad luck to get caught at a time when the balance of political power, both in Congress and amongst the key Washington media organisations was already running against them.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very well written book, well researched and very useful in uncovering the double-standard, the biased of the media, that is the biggest newspapers ,the TV channels. I cannot do otherwise but recommend it very strongly. This book shows clearly how an orchestrated attack form the press and the Democrats ( who did the same things ascribed to Nixon but before him and in a very worse way - and not least, while blatantly pretending to be virgin in such tricks )could create in the mind of the citizen the image of a devil - often not substained by facts - in so a foul play that is NOT accorded with the freedom traditions of America, but more likely with the Soviet propaganda. The weird of this phenomenon is its lasting effect, so I am entitled to say that the Watergate-saga is worse than McCarthysm. Anything else to add ? Read this book folks, read it.
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