King Richard: Nixon and Watergate—An American Tragedy

Knopf. May 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780385350099. $32.50. Tr. HIST
The 1972 Watergate scandal remains a defining moment of the American presidency and the political system itself. Revelations from journalism, scholarship, memoirs, and President Richard Nixon’s tapes have left little unknown about the scandal. But in this well-researched account, journalist Dobbs draws on recently released tapes to provide additional context for now infamous events—the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, and the wiretapping of the organization’s offices. The denials and cover-up of these events led to Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. A timeline helps readers keep track of the various political players involved, from the Committee to Re-elect the President; to investigators like Patrick Gray, tasked with uncovering the crime; to reporters like Helen Thomas, working to relay details to the public. The strength of the work stems from Dobbs’s bringing lesser-known events into clear focus, such as John Dean’s testimony before a senate committee. Included are archival photographs of Nixon during his time in office.
VERDICT Spanning biography and history, this is a gripping narrative and a fine account of events in the presidency. Recommended for readers unfamiliar with Watergate or in need of a refresher.
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