Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,by Bob Woodward
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book is about scandals. It's not a policy analysis nor a biography: it's just "inside baseball" about five presidents. The concept of the book is to analyze how Nixon's Watergate scandal affected each of the subsequent five presidents, from Gerald Ford through Bill Clinton. As the book flap describes:
"Our long national nightmare is over," President Ford declared. But it was not. The Watergate scandal, and the remedies against future abuses of power, would have an enduring impact on presidents and the country. In Shadow, Bob Woodward takes us deep into the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, to describe how each discovered that the presidency was forever altered."
That all sounds very noble, but the book reads just like any other scandal-sheet. Woodward was one of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal that eventually forced Nixon to resign -- so he has earned the right to talk about scandals -- but the only difference with other scandal-sheets is that Woodward has better access because of his fame.
The book is divided into five chapters, one for each president. Woodward dedicates fully half the book -- 282 pages out of 514 -- to Clinton's presidency. Perhaps that's because he's the most recent president covered, or perhaps it's because his administration was more scandal-ridden than most. In any case, the level of detail on Clinton is far too much for any normal voter to handle, and the same applies even to the shorter Gerald Ford chapter (only 38 pages, focusing mostly on why Ford pardoned Nixon).
For political junkies, the level of details in this book provide endless joy and speculation. For the rest of us, these excerpts should be plenty.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Dec. 2011
Woodward has several other books excerpted by OnTheIssues, some of which are a little less tedious to read:
- The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House (2005)
- The Choice: How Bill Clinton Won (2005)
- State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III (2006)
- Plan of Attack: Bush at War, Part II (2004)
- Bush At War (2002)
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
David Souter: Stewardship of Constitution means don't overturn Roe v. Wade.
George Bush Sr.: 1973: Nominally in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Jimmy Carter: 1977: Ended 20 years of secret CIA bribes to Jordanian king.
Bill Clinton: Campaign promise: support Independent Counsel investigations.
Bill Clinton: Independent Counsel is cornerstone of trust of government.
Ronald Reagan: We're armed because we mistrust each other, not vice versa.
Principles & Values|
Bill Clinton: 1995: Budget impasse caused federal shutdown & MonicaGate.
Bill Clinton: OpEd: Clinton's love goes hand-in-hand with abuse.
Bill Clinton: Arkansas trooper declined to cover up for Governor Clinton.
Bill Clinton: There IS no relationship with Monica, and WAS none.
Gerald Ford: Pardoning Nixon carries an imputation of guilt & confession.
Hillary Clinton: Felt she should have known Foster suicide was coming.
Jimmy Carter: 1975 campaign promise: I'll never lie to you.
Richard Nixon: Accepting pardon carries an imputation of guilt & confession.
War & Peace|
Colin Powell: 1990: Encourage Iraqi to leave Kuwait to avoid US deaths.
George Bush Sr.: 1990: Diplomatic solution to Kuwait forces larger crisis.
Gerald Ford: 1975: Ordered US aircraft to evacuate South Vietnamese.
Ronald Reagan: Ok to break law on Iran-Contra to protect hostages.
The above quotations are from Shadow:
Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,by Bob Woodward.
Biographies of past presidents:
- President George W. Bush
- Decision Points, by George W. Bush
- A Charge to Keep, by George W. Bush
- President Bill Clinton
- Back to Work, by Pres. Bill Clinton
- The Agenda, by Bob Woodward
- President George H. W. Bush
- All the Best, My Life in Letters, by George Bush Sr.
- The Family, (the Bushes) by Kitty Kelley
- William & Mary Environmental Law Review, by Cameron Lynch
- President Ronald Reagan
- Dutch, a Memoir of Ronald Reagan, by Edmund Morris
- Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Pres. Ronald Reagan
- President Jimmy Carter
- An Hour Before Daylight, by Jimmy Carter
- Jimmy Who?: biography of Jimmy Carter
- President Gerald Ford
- Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,by Bob Woodward
- A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford
- President Richard Nixon
- Seize the Moment, by Richard Nixon
- The Watergate Transcripts, by The Washington Post