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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Ben Bradlee was the hero
Ben Bradlee is the real hero in this book. The Washington Post's editor stood by his young reporters, when there was no apparent story to Watergate.

The fact that Woodward was a former naval intelligence officer and also a registered Republican gave weight to this classic, and to the articles which preceded it. Woodward cannot be portrayed as "anti-Republican"...
Published on May 24 2007 by M. J. Fenn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
This novel was a little hard to follow. Once you started to read it, it became more interesting.
Published on Oct. 13 1999


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Ben Bradlee was the hero, May 24 2007
By 
M. J. Fenn (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
Ben Bradlee is the real hero in this book. The Washington Post's editor stood by his young reporters, when there was no apparent story to Watergate.

The fact that Woodward was a former naval intelligence officer and also a registered Republican gave weight to this classic, and to the articles which preceded it. Woodward cannot be portrayed as "anti-Republican" by a long stretch; rather, it was a Republican Administration that shot itself in the foot.

Or so goes the conventional wisdom.

In recent years, Woodward himself has admitted that he believes that Watergate has had something of a corrosive effect on the relationship between the Executive, the media and the law. 'All the President's Men' is a masterpiece and period piece all on its own, but it could usefully be read with Woodward's much later 'Shadow of Watergate', detailing the deepseated influence that the events leading to Nixon's resignation have had on subsequent presidencies.

This book is a classic, and it's amazing to think that it was issued actually before Nixon resigned in 1974, but it's a pity Bradlee's name didn't appear on the work as well as Woodward's and Bernstein's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A political and journalistic classic, April 5 2004
By 
R.J. Corby (Irvine, CA, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
This is a remarkable book about two reporters who effectively brought down a president and an administration. The movie is a classic and a favorite among journalism students (this one included), but I'd recommend a combination of watching the movie and definitely reading the book. A quick compliment to the authors - the "Cast of Characters" section in the beginning of the book really helps the reader along, since there are so many names to keep straight.
This book harkens back to a time when work, time and careful documentation and cultivation of sources were required before printing bombshell accusations against an administration, unlike the scandal-mongering atmosphere from the Clinton administration up through the present. With the advent of the Internet and 24-hour cable news networks, the trend now is to publish or air rumor, innuendo or unfounded stories and do the legwork later, if at all. Woodward and Bernstein didn't do it that way - they uncovered a scandal the old fashioned way - they did legwork to ensure the accuracy of their stories. The result of their hard work and diligence is this book - the biggest, most sensational and shocking political story in the history of our country. Anyone wanting to know the inside story of Richard Nixon's fall from power, start here, and also read Bernstein and Woodward's "The Final Days." This book is a classic that will remain so 100 years from now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How journalism ought to be..., Jan. 6 2004
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
Even after repeat viewings of the film "All the President's Men" on DVD, and really appreciating what a classic it is, it cannot beat the original book. In fact, along with "The Final Days," the film is even *better* when read in tandem with the book. Students should be reading it in either high school or college - it is not only compulsively readable, but manages to help those of us born after Watergate understand what really happened. And it's also a great introduction to life inside the (Washington D.C.) Beltway.
The reputation of journalism as a profession, and the ideal of truth and accuracy in reporting, has taken a beating. In the last few years, between the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times and the New Republic embarassment with Stephen Glass, it's refreshing to read this book and see what journalism is meant to be. For one thing, Woodward and Bernstein endeavored to be objective even when describing themselves, and their own actions - being honest about their own weaknesses and habits as reporters. There is no bombast or ego here, or in "Final Days", about what brilliant reporting they did, or how they broke this white-hot story when they were both quite young. It makes Blair and Glass's arrogance much harder to stomach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Political Detective Story, Jan. 5 2004
On June 17, 1972 Bob Woodward received a telephone call and was asked to cover a burglary of Democratic headquarters; he had just finished some stories on the attempt to assassinate George Wallace. All five burglars stood out against the usual suspects in police court; all had CIA connections.
Page 21 tells of the investigation into McCord's activities; he worked full-time for the Committee to Re-elect the President. McCord followed orders unquestioningly, did not act on his own initiative. Two of the burglars had the name and phone numbers of Howard Hunt. This number led to Charles Colson, then to the R. Mullen Company. Pages 24-25 tell how address books and telephone numbers were used in this investigation, with off-the-record reports. While this burglary was bungled, how many others succeeded (p.26)? The purpose of the break-in was for "scandal, gossip" (p.27). [To find someone vulnerable to bribery or blackmail who could be used as a spy or saboteur.] There were too many coincidences in this story (some of these burglars were around when offices of prominent Democratic lawyers were burglarized). While a burglary usually means taking something away, it could also be used to plant incriminating papers. Days later John Mitchell resigned as manager of the Nixon campaign (p.30). Bernstein went to Miami, and found out that a $25,000 check donated to President Nixon's campaign was deposited to the bank account of one of the Watergate burglars (p.44). Page 45 gives an example of how confidential medical records are used in politics. The GAO audit determined that over $500,000 in campaign funds was mishandled (p.40). They learned about money-laundering (p.54). Page 55 explains how this is raised for protection money.
Bob Woodward had a secret source ("Deep Throat") who confirmed information that had been obtained elsewhere (p.71). These reporters had different styles (pp.49-51). The big news was that Attorney General John Mitchell authorized campaign funds for apparently illegal activities (p.98)! Page 104 explains a clever denial. Both reporters had sources in the Justice Department who could confirm details (p.111). An unfair accusation in the 'Washington Post' could ruin careers. The Watergate bugging made little sense by itself, but could indicate part of a broader campaign (pp.113-4); page 116 gives an example. Page 127 tells how a faked letter could derail a successful campaign! The Nixon take-over of the Federal agencies was presented (p.130), as if it were subjecting the government and nation his personal whims. There was subversion of the electoral process (p.135). This was unprecedented in scope and intensity (p.143). Page 147 tells of an imposter who imitated the voice of a McGovern campaign official. There were other horror stories from the Muskie staffers (p.148). Control of the operations was traced to Nixon's appointments secretary, who had daily access to the President. The rest of this book covers events from 1973 until early 1974. Page 273 summarizes the connections (Chapter 13).
A "third rate burglary" led to White House personnel. Further investigations lead to wide-scale illegal fundraising, and political sabotage that involves misdemeanors and other crimes. Most of those involved had little experience in politics. The idol with feet of clay came crashing down. Most people under 40 missed these events; learn about it from this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a pre-emptive strike against revisionism, Oct. 25 2003
By 
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
In the sub-genre of journalistic memoir, there simply is no book better than this. It is written still in the heat of battle - as it was being put together, Nixon had not yet resigned - and conveys the sense of being under pressure from public power, from the fears and lack of cooperation of individuals, and from their own human fallibility; conveys it better than anything except, perhaps, a war diary. As writing, it has not aged. And it is worth having for one very good reason: that Watergate has shrunk in the memory. After many succeeding penny-ante scandals, artificially built up to be something they were not, it is important to remember that the President at the time did not go down for the silly raid on the National Democratic Committee, nor even for having a few outright sleazeballs in his ante-room, but - to put it bluntly - for turning the White House into a criminal association within the meaning of the act. Secret intelligence, slush funds acquired from corrupt businessmen, sabotage, slander, destruction of documents, behind-the-scenes fixing - even arson and threats of violence - were the daily bread of the Nixon camp, the way they did business. If they had a choice between a legal and an illegal way to do anything, they chose, not the legal one - nor even the one that made most sense in terms of non-moral efficiency - but the illegal one, as a sort of constitutional preference. There has never been anything like this in the White House, before or - fortunately - since: everything that may be quoted against any other President, up to and including Teapot Dome and Ulysses Grant's inglorious time in office, simply pales in front of the daily, routine criminality of the Nixon men. At the time, the Republican Party at large was quite clear that the Nixonites were an entity apart, dedicated purely to the personal power of the President. And long before the Plumbers ever broke into Watergate, Richard Nixon was in hock and virtually paying blackmail to them and to similarly unscrupulous characters for a score of illegal acts; in the end, that, more than any break-in, made the exposure of the President virtually inevitable.
Just as inevitable, of course, is revisionism. I know that someone called Colodny has come up with an "alternative" account that charges that John Dean arranged for the break-in to cover up for his wife's involvement in a call-girl ring and then sold the President and his colleagues down the river to protect himself; and that Alexander Haig worked against the President and manipulated Woodward and Bernstein. The second statement is highly unlikely, in view of the fact that nobody comes out of THE LAST DAYS - the book that followed this - worse than Haig, who is shown to be a smooth careerist whose "military" career saw him go from Colonel to four-star General within six years at the White House, and who has loyalty for nobody but himself; a strange way to promote him to the public. The first only shifts the blame from one Nixon sleazeball to another, without doing anything to alter the fact that the Nixon administration, as a whole, was corrupt with a depth and thoroughness that, while not unfamiliar in American municipal politics, was and remains unique at national level. The evidence is beyond denial, and plenty of it is aired in this book - unbreakable paper trails such as the cheque signed by a perfectly honest Republican fundraiser called Kenneth H. Dahlberg, which ended up in the bank account of one of the burglars: with this sort of hard fact staring at us in the face, what does it matter whether John Dean lied or not?
Indeed, the best way to understand what happened in America between 1969 and 1973 may perhaps be to think of the politics of Chicago or Tammamy Hall transplanted to the federal level: comparison with corrupt Third World regimes is not very helpful, because Third World politics do not have the elaboration, thoroughness and reach that Nixonism had.
This, in the end, is the main value of this memoir: as a sort of pre-emptive strike against revisionism, reminding us that - whatever its ramifications - the Watergate affair was unique in its extent and depth, and should never be simply normalized in memory by aligning it with footling items about smeared cigars and hanging chads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, Sept. 4 2003
By 
Warren Fish (Oregon, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
If you care about the truth, if you think of yourself as informed, or if you are remotely interested in politics, you must read this book. Politics, politicians, scandals, cover-ups, lies, and conspiracies will never look the same again after you read Woodward and Bernstein's account of their ground-shaking investigation. Watergate changed everything. That these two guys took down the president is a modern miracle, and a vivid demonstration of why a free press is so important. We better hope we always have one.
Your perspective on the personalities at work in the White House of today will be greatly enhanced when viewed in the light of this book. The depths politicians can sink to, the lies they will tell, and their rampant passing of the buck gets exposed here. As you read this book and learn things about America and Americans that you never would have imagined, the unfolding drama of this moment in history will grip you and propel you to the end. By following the reporter/detectives as they unravel their story, you begin to feel like you're playing a part in it. And you are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must to any political library, July 27 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
It has been 31 years since a small group of men entered the Watergate office building on the banks of the Potomac River for the purpose of gathering intelligence to be used against the Democrats in the 1972 election. There are many young adults who were not around then, and this is all the more reason to give a very high recommendation.
This is the story of two young reporters at the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose reportage of the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover up led to the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, 1974.
These two journalists, so dissimilar in may ways, forged a trusting and cooperative relationship born out of initial competitiveness (and disrespect for each other). The book is written in the "third person" which, from a standpoint of style, was probably the best way to proceed instead of bouncing back and forth from one person to the other.
We know quite a bit more about Watergate today than we knew three decades ago, but this is the book that really brought the main story into focus. The people who inhabit the book are all memorable: The two reporters; Hugh Sloan, a man whose integrity made him leave the Committee to Re-Elect the President rather than be a party to what was going on; the female accountant (whose name is not mentioned in the book but who has since gone public) who reluctantly helps Bernsetin while he drinks numerous cups of coffee; the men and women who were too frightened to help.
And, of course, there is "Deep Throat," the mysterious source who helped keep Woodward on track and whose identity is speculated about even today, so many years after these events.
If you haven't read this book, please do before you read any other book on the Watergate affair (the movie of the same name is also wonderful -- with the cinematographer choosing shots which emphasized the massive government buildings as a backdrop against the insignificant looking figures of Woodward and Bernstein -- played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, respectively).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The mother of all White House scandals, Dec 31 2002
It says a lot about the character of Richard Nixon - his suspicion bordering on paranoia, his bitterness, his self-pity, and his intransigent resentment toward everybody who he perceives as an enemy (which was probably almost everybody), that he had to rubber-stamp the commitment of a crime in order to win an election he could never have lost anyway, by approving the break-in of the Democratic national headquarters in Washington in the summer of 1972.
A black night-watchman finds a door lock suspiciously taped over and calls the police. The police notify the press. And two young reporters from the Washington Post begin to investigate what looks like a third-class, amateurish crime and end up ripping the lid off the biggest can of worms in American history.
We watch in fascination as Woodward and Bernstein follow their mentor Ben Bradlee's precept of "If you can't find a woman in the story, look for the dough". We follow them as they chase the trail of laundered "dough" all the way into the White House. And along with them, we peel off the outer leaves of the artichoke one by one - the underlings who committed the crime, their superiors who planned it, the higher-ups who authorized it, until the ugly center stands exposed: the Chief Executive as Thief in Chief. Whether or not Nixon knew about the break-in in advance is irrelevant. What matters is that once the news was out, he did everything possible to cover it up, and by doing so, sank himself irreversibly in a morass of crime and deception.
The book reads like a classic detective novel, with the intangible presence of Deep Throat looming over all. Did he really exist, and if so, who was he? The question still puzzles us. Woodward and Bernstein have been playing cat-and-mouse with us over his identity for the last three decades. It's just one of the threads in this story that will be left dangling for years to come.
Woodward and Bernstein emerged from the Watergate scandal as American heroes. To say they brought down the Nixon administration may be overdoing it; but they certainly tore the cover off a malodorous snake pit and brought it kicking and screaming into daylight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The adventures of "Tricky Dick." Now that's incredible!, July 23 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
Woodward and Bernstein have done a masterful job of telling how they unraveled the twisted story of the Nixon Administration's capers and illegal activities. What struck me as quite strange was how Nixon, the strident anti-communist, did things that served to undermine the US Constitution which he claimed to love and swore to uphold. It appears that he did more to harm the country than Communist leaders like Kruschev, Brezhnev, Castro and Ho Chi Minh could ever have done. Watergate and the activities of the so-called Plumbers worked to undermine the basic system of democracy by taking away the people's right and ability to have the candidates run a fair and honest campaign. To me, this is the biggest threat to our country and the biggest shame about Watergate.
Having lived through the Watergate years, I still find it incredible that such intelligent men could be so stupid. Why did the Republicans need to break in to Democratice headquarters any way? After all, McGovern was a far out, weak candidate whom Nixon was going to destroy in the election, why take the risks?
Woodward and Bernstein hold one's attention as they go about proving that there was much more to Watergate than the "third rate burglary which was nothing the President would be interested in" according to Ron Zieglar. Good book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The adventures of "Tricky Dick." Now that's incredible!, July 23 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: All the President's Men (Paperback)
Woodward and Bernstein have done a masterful job of telling how they unraveled the twisted story of the Nixon Administration's capers and illegal activities. What struck me as quite strange was how Nixon, the strident anti-communist, did things that served to undermine the US Constitution which he claimed to love and swore to uphold. It appears that he did more to harm the country than Communist leaders like Kruschev, Brezhnev, Castro and Ho Chi Minh could ever have done. Watergate and the activities of the so-called Plumbers worked to undermine the basic system of democracy by taking away the people's right and ability to have the candidates run a fair and honest campaign. To me, this is the biggest threat to our country and the biggest shame about Watergate.
Having lived through the Watergate years, I still find it incredible that such intelligent men could be so stupid. Why did the Republicans need to break in to Democratice headquarters any way? After all, McGovern was a far out, weak candidate whom Nixon was going to destroy in the election, why take the risks?
Woodward and Bernstein hold one's attention as they go about proving that there was much more to Watergate than the "third rate burglary which was nothing the President would be interested in" according to Ron Zieglar. Good book!
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