The Watergate break-in and coverup scandal that toppled the presidential administration of Richard Nixon is, maybe arguably, one of American history's watershed events. Why is clearly explained by Richard Kutler in his historically rich book that is very probably the most comprehensive and easily understood publication on the subject. Kutler begins with the approval by the president's men of the break-in at the headquarters in the Watergate complex of the National Democratic Committee and, after the plot's five burglars are nabbed, the conspiracy to cover up the involvement of the White House in the break-in. Kutler is rightly clear in pressing the point that there has never been any evidence that Nixon himself approved the break-in (that was OKed by the president's operatives). But, just six days after the June 17, 1972, break-in, Nixon ordered the coverup in the now infamous smoking gun taped conversation with chief of staff H.R. Haldeman. From the apprehension of the break-in's participants, Kutler takes us to the Senate investigative committee that gradually chipped away to lead to the articles of impeachment that were being advanced but not forwarded to the House because of Nixon's resignation. The number of participants in the Watergate affair is sheer numbing, but Kutler does a tremendous job in not getting his reader too bogged down in trying to keep the cast straight. In the end, though, the historical value of Kutler's contribution is why Watergate essentially redefined the presidency, how it altered the American public's perception of the nation's highest office and why and how the built-in safeguards against a tyrannical presidency worked. As for Nixon, it goes without saying he was a truly tragic figures whose pettiness sabotaged what could likely have been one of the most effective presidential administrations in history. Kutler concludes with a tantalizing question: assuming that Nixon did, to some extent, rehabilitate his public image in the years before his death, was that rehabilitation due to the fallen president's changing his character's fatal flaws, or was it because he simply out-lived most of what he called his "enemies?" All this and more in one of the most compelling documents in the Watergate fiasco.