POLITICAL SCIENCE

The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate

Random. Nov. 2019. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781400069705. $27. POL SCI
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Brokaw (A Life Interrupted) became NBC News White House Correspondent in 1973, as the Watergate affair captivated the nation. From his ringside seat, Brokaw documents President Richard Nixon’s inevitable fall, despite unprecedented diplomatic breakthroughs with China and the USSR. Stories of Nixon’s insecurities that led him to approve the break-in of Democratic Party headquarters, and comparisons between Presidents Nixon and Trump in claiming executive privilege and blaming the media, provide much to ponder. As the Nixon presidency descends to its ultimate collapse in 1974, Brokaw portrays Nixon as a self-deluded, broken man who would not acknowledge guilt, even when the Supreme Court ruled that he must turn over all papers and tapes. Humorous anecdotes about traveling with the president and life among Washington’s political elite lighten the mood. The author reveals that Nixon wanted him to serve as press secretary, a position Brokaw turned down because he disliked party politics.
VERDICT This fast-paced account nicely captures the spirit of the times and will appeal to political junkies and scholars. See Patrick Buchanan’s Nixon’s White House Wars and Keith Olson’s updated Watergate for in-depth investigations.

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