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Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate Paperback – Bargain Price, June 6, 2000
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All provocative stuff, some of it new. But most readers will flip to the book's second half, a fly-on-the-wall account of the backroom mud-wrestling in both the Clinton and Starr camps in the Monicagate morass. It's a trove of racy facts (mostly from anonymous sources). We read that Clinton called Nixon a "war criminal," yet tried to minimize Watergate in his Nixon eulogy, that he disgusted Ford and Jack Nicklaus by cheating while golfing with them, and that he kept falsely assuring aides, "I'm retired! [as an adulterer]." We hear Hillary's alleged words of agony and see the pain on Bill's face after Chelsea reads The Starr Report on the Internet. Starr comes off like RoboCop without the human side. Woodward calls him "pathetic and unwise" in rejecting his staff's urgent demand not to send the lurid details of presidential sex to Congress. "I love the narrative!" Starr weirdly exulted, according to Woodward's new Deep Throat (or Throats). Since Monica was interrogated at Starr's mother-in-law's apartment, which he called "Grandma's place," ethics expert Sam Dash suggested they call it "Operation Red Riding Hood." What sharp teeth everyone in this book has!
To tell the truth, Woodward doesn't really knit together 25 years' worth of scandals into a single strong narrative. But the Clinton part is the closest thing yet to what we all crave: a tale of Monicagate with some of the flavor of a John Grisham thriller. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
-Don Wismer, Cary Memorial Lib., Wayne, ME
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In the first part of the book, Woodward discusses the effects after the Watergate scandal, and how it has influenced the oval office. The Watergate scandal obviously affected the two presidents closest in time, Ford and Carter, the most. President Ford, because he pardoned Nixon (and the uproar that followed doing so), and Carter, whose promise of change, his promise of total ethics ["I will never lie to you"], stood in great contrast to the scandals involving Bert Lance and Hamilton Jordan. Discussed is also the Reagan and Bush's Iran-Contra scandal, including all of the details and questions regarding what Reagan evidently knew (or didn't). The second half of the book is almost exclusively devoted to the apparently endless scandals and moral blunders of the Clinton Administration, with particular emphasis on the Lewinsky scandal. Quite frankly, the first and second half of the book are like two different books. I found the first part of the book to be incredibly interesting, and then the second part, to be... well, "just another Lewinsky book"... But I did find the details which shows us how the Clinton-Starr battle(s) turned personal to be very interesting (and frightening). Woodward shows us how the Independent council has almost become a monster of its' own, no longer controllable by any political branch or office!Read more ›
He details the issues each of the Presidents have faced but he really does not tie them together in the way I think he wanted to, which is that the power and complexity of the President almost assures a problem. Where I think he could have tied the theory together is that the press is all after the next "issue gate", and they more then anyone drive this issue of scandal journalism.
With this being said, you get all the standard Woodward items with the book, great details, wonderful he said - she said conversations that really make you feel like a fly on the wall, an easy to follow and well laid out book. The real gems of the book are the details of how the Reagan and Bush Presidencies handled Iran - Contra and what is probably the best record of the last two years of the Clinton scandal Fest and "Monica-gate". This is an interesting book that I really enjoyed. If you like Woodward you will like this book, if you are interested in Iran - Contra or the last two years of the Clinton presidency then this is also a good source of information.
At the same time, there is an air of suspicion about Woodward's sourcing. Who did he talk to to get the quotes he got? For example, on page 360, he recounts a conversation among President Clinton, Bruce Lindsey, and Bob Bennett about an evidentiary ruling by Judge Wright in the Paula Jones matter. Bennett supposedly says, "The key thing is, don't go in and perjure yourself."
Who is Woodward's source for this reporting? The endnotes state "Author's interviews with knowledgeable sources." Other than Clinton, Bennett, and Lindsey, who could be knowledgeable about the conversation? It is highly unlikely that Clinton was the source, and Lindsey and Bennett are both attorneys; for them to disclose the contents of the conversation would breach the attorney-client privilege and would constitute a great ethical lapse.
Yet, the conversation has an authentic feel to it. It sounds right. But Woodward's questionable sourcing, which dates back to "The Final Days," rears its ugly head here. Throughout entire passages that sound like they really happened, the reader is left wondering, How does Woodward know this?
In summary, I wouldn't pay full price for this book, but it is worth a few dollars if you can find it in a remaindered pile or a bargain section.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book for learning a lot of "back-story" relating to major news events involving these five president. There's a lot of interesting information presented. Read morePublished 7 months ago by VicP
Interesting angle to weave the lens of history through Watergate but way too much on Clinton scandals. Could have sliced out 100 pages and still would have gotten the gist.Published 16 months ago by Matt O.
Bob Woodward is a master of writing books on issues that could be delivered in a boring manner but in his hands, they come off as greatly entertaining. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Peter
Good historical information to compare with media. Wordy, tiresome.Published 22 months ago by Arne Adams
Bob give an insightful look into all Presidents from Nixon-Clinton. Very critical of Gerald Ford as he never went from Congressman - to president. never wanted to be president. Read morePublished on October 6, 2013 by D Donald Snyder
In this book, Bob goes over the details of the problems of 5 presidents following the Watergate scandal and tries to pin a lot of blame for the press's intense scrutiny of any kind... Read morePublished on July 8, 2013 by R. Marten
You'll be amazed how much time and effort and money was used by, especially, the Clinton White House and Ken Star. Good book.Published on March 9, 2013 by Arthur Foulkes
Not so much presidential scandals qua scandals, more crises of presidential credibility, and investigations by independent counsels/special prosecutors in particular. Read morePublished on April 17, 2011 by Caleb Hanson