A new history of Watergate, exploring the full scope of the scandal through the politicians, investigators, journalists, and informants who made it the most influential political event of our modern era.
... dazzling ... A lively writer, Graff explores the dramatic scope of the Watergate saga through its participants — politicians, investigators, journalists, whistle-blowers and, at center stage, Nixon himself ... With granular detail, Graff writes about the white-collar criminals, hatchet men and rogues who populated the outer circles of Nixon’s covert operations.
Based on existing primary and extensive secondary sources—the Nixon administration is one of the most documented in history—but no new interviews, this book succeeds in reprising the facts for those general readers unacquainted with them. Practicing historians will already recognize many of the incidents ... The 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in in 2022 will undoubtedly witness an abundance of books with which to compare this work.
... a remarkably rich narrative with compelling characters, who range from criminal and flawed to tragic and heroic. As someone who played a small role in the drama while I was editing many of The Washington Post’s Watergate stories, I found that Graff convincingly populates and re-creates an extraordinary time in the history of the country and this city ... a challenging read at nearly 700 pages of text, detailing fast-paced, interlocking events over six years ... Yet, Graff succeeds in his stated mission to tell 'a more human story, one not filled with giants, villains, and heroes, but with flawed everyday people worried about their families, their careers, and their legacies.' The book is filled with apt sketches of its many characters, major and minor, from all the president’s men, and some of their spouses, to journalists, investigators, lawyers and members of Congress. It vividly re-creates all the key events, from Nixon’s overreaction to the revelation of the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in June 1971 to his resignation in August 1974 ... Graff sprinkles his book with readable anecdotes and asides, some of them in the many footnotes dotting the bottoms of pages ... His book is weakest on the long-term impact of Watergate ... I’ve read a couple dozen books about Watergate, and I’ve written chapters about The Post’s Watergate investigation in two of my own books. I found Watergate: A New History to be engaging, informative and thought-provoking, more than earning its place on bookshelves alongside the old histories.