Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10. Watergate; A Novel

By:  Thomas Mallon
Rated:  Rated 4.5 Stars
Audio Book

I read about this book in bookgirls Diary Contemporary Fiction Views "Watergate"

She gave it a pretty good review.  Good enough that it made me want to read it for myself.  At the time The Watergate Hearings were going on and televised I was one of those rare periods of my life when I had lots of time.  We were getting ready to move overseas and I had taken the summer of 1974 off to pack and play. So I stayed glued to the television set because truthfully it all played like a soap opera to me.  I would even take notes so that I could keep my husband up to date.  I was very politically naive back in those days.  I still have a very vivid picture in my mind of us sitting at a picnic bench in the Canadian Rockies listening a portable radio to the announcement that Nixon had resigned .

But on to the book.  First off, it's a re-telling, written from various points of view. To quote bookgirl in her  Diary on KOS " I did look at the reviews on amazon and they are pretty mixed over there.  I really think that this is one of those books that while it's a pretty good read, you really had to "be there" to fully appreciate it.  bookgirl also complains that the author has made the story into a farce.   Well folks, that's exactly what it was.  Watching the hearings from May until August 1973 that was exactly what I felt like I was watching.  That's why it felt so much like a soap opera.  At one point it seemed to me that the conspirators were all running around acting like Keystone Cops.  I don't see how the author could have made it into more of a farce than it actually was.  What idiots we elect!  And STILL ARE!!!!!!!!!!!

I did like the authors explanation of how the 18 1/2 minute gap on the tape happened

Book Description

February 21, 2012
From one of our most esteemed historical novelists, a remarkable retelling of the Watergate scandal, as seen through a kaleidoscope of its colorful perpetrators and investigators.

For all the monumental documentation that Watergate generated—uncountable volumes of committee records, court transcripts, and memoirs—it falls at last to a novelist to perform the work of inference (and invention) that allows us to solve some of the scandal’s greatest mysteries (who did erase those eighteen-and-a-half minutes of tape?) and to see this gaudy American catastrophe in its human entirety.

In Watergate, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now, moving readers from the private cabins of Camp David to the klieg lights of the Senate Caucus Room, from the District of Columbia jail to the Dupont Circle mansion of Theodore Roosevelt’s sharp-tongued ninety-year-old daughter (“The clock is dick-dick-dicking”), and into the hive of the Watergate complex itself, home not only to the Democratic National Committee but also to the president’s attorney general, his recklessly loyal secretary, and the shadowy man from Mississippi who pays out hush money to the burglars.

Praised by Christopher Hitchens for his “splendid evocation of Washington,” Mallon achieves with Watergate a scope and historical intimacy that surpasses even what he attained in his previous novels, as he turns a “third-rate burglary” into a tumultuous, first-rate entertainment.