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The thesis of this intriguing investigation of Watergate is that the break in was actually meant to cover up embarrassing information about John Dean's wife, that Dean and Haig ill served the President because of their own private cover ups (Haig was hiding a spy operation by the Joint Chiefs aimed at the White House) and that Haig was Deep Throat.  The authors provide enough documentation and their scenario makes sufficient sense, that I, for one, am willing to believe that there is a substantial element of truth here.  If nothing else, the reader will look at the Woodward/Bernstein version of Watergate with a much more jaundiced eye and will view Dean with the contempt he so richly deserves.

But, after all is said and done, Richard Nixon was still our worst president ever.  Having decided to get out of Vietnam, he inexcusably dragged the war out for several more years.  Detente with the Russians nearly lost the Cold War for us and his expansion of the Social Welfare State nearly bankrupted us and was a betrayal of Republican principles.  Regardless of his level of personal involvement in the events surrounding Watergate, he created and tolerated an atmosphere of lawless paranoia in the White House, which virtually guaranteed that such incidents would occur.  And the White House tapes reveal a man whose temperament was ill-suited to being the leader of the Western world--his easy anti-Semitism and contempt for virtually everyone had no place in the Oval Office.  That he might have been victimized by disloyal staffers does not excuse his abysmal performance as President, nor his flagrant disregard for the civil liberties of his enemies, supposed or real.

This book is an enjoyably iconoclastic challenge to the received wisdom about Watergate, but even if every word in it is true, none of it matters that much; the coup was a good thing.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C+)

  

Websites:

See also:

History
Politics
Book-related and General Links:
     -Silent Coup Webpage
     -REVIEW: What He Didn't Know and When He Didn't Know It  (Stephen E. Ambrose, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin (Steve Weinberg, Columbia Journalism Review)
    -INTERVIEW: Amazon.com talks to Len Colodny
    -Watergate.com  Brought to you by Len Colodny, co-author of "Silent Coup"
    -ANNIVERSARY WALTZ: Watergate Style by Jo Campbell
    -The Forgotten Men of Watergate (Reed Irvine, Accuracy in Media)
    -Interview: with Jim Hougan, Author of Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA (Conspiracy Archives)
    -Nixon, Watergate, and the Study of the Presidency (Presidential Studies Quarterly-Winter 1996)
    -Impeaching Woodstein (Columbia Journalism Review)
    -Watergate
    -G. Gordon Liddy Page
    -ESSAY: The Other Vietnam Generation (Douglas Brinkley, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of  THE ARROGANCE OF POWER: The Secret World of Richard Nixon By Anthony Summers, with Robbyn Swan NIXON REVISITED  (John W. Dean. Chicago Tribune)
    -ARTICLE : Flipping His Liddy (Stephen Bates, Slate, Feb. 5, 2001)
 

Other recommended books on Watergate or washington scandals:
Jaworski, Leon
    -The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate
Liddy, G. Gordon
    -Will : The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1980)

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