The White House Plumbers: The Seven Weeks That Led to Watergate and Doomed Nixon’s Presidency

St. Martin’s. Apr. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781250851628. pap. $17.99. POL SCI
The late Nixon aide Egil Krogh (1939–2020) presents, in concert with his son Matthew, this clearly written first-person confession for his role in some of the Nixon administration’s crimes. After the Pentagon Papers leak by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, Krogh was made co-director of Nixon’s Special Investigations Unit (“the Plumbers”), charged with preventing future leaks, purportedly in the interest of national security. In September 1971 Krogh assented to have the Plumbers break in to the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist to look for information to discredit the leaker. Eight months later, the Plumbers would form the core of Nixon’s Watergate burglars; by then, Krogh had left the unit, after refusing to use a warrantless wiretap. Krogh was implicated in the Nixon administration’s crimes when Watergate broke in 1973; he pled guilty for a reduced sentence (part of his effort to atone, he writes here) and was the first person incarcerated for activities in the Nixon White House. Later, he lectured on accepting responsibility and making ethical choices when loyalty to people and principles conflict.
VERDICT General readers on both sides of the political aisle will welcome this instructional, conscience-stricken account and will want to compare the book to the five-part miniseries based on it (to appear on HBO in 2022).
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