From the best-selling author of One Minute to Midnight: anaccount of the crucial days, hours, and moments when the Watergate conspiracy consumed, and ultimately toppled, a president. Drawing on thousands of hours of newly-released taped recordings, Michael Dobbs takes us into the heart of the conspiracy.
...rich and kaleidoscopic ... Dobbs himself plays up this lugubrious element with the 'American tragedy' in his subtitle and in the arc of the book itself, which is explicitly structured as a classical tragedy, he says, albeit with four acts instead of five. But in his wry and absorbing narrative I sensed an ironic dimension, too ... King Richard distinguishes itself in part by limiting its narrative mostly to the first hundred days after Nixon’s second inauguration, when the victorious president looked poised to coast through another four years before the wagons of the Watergate scandal started to circle closer and closer ... This circumscribed frame allows Dobbs to deploy his observational gifts to full effect ... King Richard makes vivid use of the tapes to convey a White House that seemed to be an unholy combination of the grimly determined and aggressively puerile ... Toward the self-pitying figures in this book, Dobbs is empathetic, but he isn’t sentimental.
... in King Richard, veteran journalist and author Michael Dobbs stirs memories of the intense personal drama connecting that break-in to the downfall of President Richard Nixon ... a vivid retelling of both the crime story and the human stories ... Dobbs uses this vivid source, among others, to re-enact the struggles within the Nixon operation just as it started to unravel. This may give King Richard a better shot than most histories have at reaching younger readers. At the same time, it gives a (much) older generation of Watergate junkies a way to rediscover the dark intrigues of Nixon and his entourage — with notes of relief that we all survived, and perhaps a touch of nostalgia as well ... Within this tight focus, Dobbs presents something he likens to a play ... Dobbs achieves something of a cinematic effect, thanks in part to the brevity of the chapters.
Michael Dobbs makes a splendid case that Nixon was 'an American tragedy,' though I have a quibble. In the classic Greek and Shakespearean definition, there is absolutely nothing the tragic hero can do to avoid his destiny ... It was as if Shakespeare had written a tragedy starring Iago as the central character ... For those new to the story, King Richard is an excellent place to start. Dobbs, a former Washington Post correspondent, has a keen sense of drama. And, by focusing on the 100 days after Nixon’s triumphant second inauguration, he provides a clever lens for viewing most all of the president’s disastrous decisions, with an intimacy — due to Dobbs’s subtle choice of extracts from the tapes — that is stunning ... The story Dobbs tells is, by turns, hilarious, pathetic and infuriating.