Monday, February 13, 2012

Watergate-Thomas Mallon


Thomas Mallon

Pantheon, Feb 21 2012, $26.95

ISBN: 9780307378729

In 1972, President Richard Nixon’s Committee to reelect him (CRP) wants to bury his opponent Senator George McGovern by using his rival’s anti-Viet Nam War position as unpatriotic if they can tie him to Castro. Five men break into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate complex. Security guard Frank Willis catches them. They are arrested but evidence is destroyed. Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate with the help of Deep Throat until the scandal reaches the Oval Office forcing Nixon to resign.

This is a great historical fictionalized account of Watergate that impacted future generation inquiries (Iran-Contra comes to mind). The storyline focuses on fictional accounts of many of the players’ personal lives after the incident occurred so it behooves readers to pursue what happened. None of the cast is prime focus as the crime holds the storyline together. Reactions divide along party lines similar to the OJ murder trial divided amongst race lines; Republicans insist a silly political prank (as the lyrics of Sweet Home Alabama imply) though they cannot alibi evidence destruction and obstruction; Democrats insist burglary and cover-up are crimes regardless who you are or what connections you have (unless it happens to be a democrat lying under oath). Nixon is somewhat in the background as a tragic Shakespearean character fated to fail while three females (his wife Pat, his secretary Rose Mary “18 and a half” Woods, and Teddy Roosevelt’s nonagenarian daughter Alice Longworth) deal with the scandal. Other secondary and tertiary characters step forward from the shadows onto the stage as readers observe different perspectives of the immediate and somewhat longer term aftermath of Watergate by those involved.

Harriet Klausner

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