Now the best and fullest account of the Watergate crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.

WATERGATE

A NEW HISTORY

A half-century after the Watergate break-in, this anniversary history becomes the standard-setting base line for all future ones.

For all of Richard Nixon’s achievements, the sometimes-unbelievable, always lurid Watergate scandal forever stains his reputation. Graff, the director of cyber initiatives at the Aspen Institute, sees the crisis as the result of amateurish fumbling rather than criminal forethought, but he attributes to the Nixon administration the “darker, racialized, nativist, fear-mongering strain of the Republican Party and American politics that would a half century later find its natural conclusion in Donald Trump.” Letting the story speak for itself, Graff intervenes principally to point to inconsistencies in participants’ testimonies or subjects for further investigation, such as a tantalizing thread of links to Chile. The text is a brisk, riveting, compulsively readable, comprehensive, up-to-date narrative of the entire tangled affair, and it’s hard to imagine it better told. While you learn new things about the major figures, people you’ve never heard of, all masterfully introduced and as numerous, colorful, deceitful, and laugh-inducing as characters in a Dickens’ novel, walk on stage. Back-biting, betrayals, interagency spying, wild improvisation, collective paranoia, and sheer White House chaos are running leitmotifs. Much of this is well known. Graff’s contribution is to bring it all together, add his sharp-eyed questions about what doesn’t make sense or still needs to be known, and energetically drive forward the story of what’s known from available evidence. The book’s principal limitations are its inattention to the outside pressures—legal challenges, mounting public outcry, and the like—that contributed to the scandal’s outcome and to historians’ contribution to the House Impeachment Inquiry. Graff also downplays the value of the Nixon tapes, which Michael Dobbs explored insightfully in King Richard. But in every other respect, this should be considered the authoritative history of its subject.

Now the best and fullest account of the Watergate crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982139-16-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

An oft-ignored but fully convincing argument that “we cannot prevent the next pandemic without creating a healthy world.”

THE CONTAGION NEXT TIME

The Covid-19 pandemic is not a one-off catastrophe. An epidemiologist presents a cogent argument for a fundamental refocusing of resources on “the foundational forces that shape health.”

In this passionate and instructive book, Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, writes that Covid emerged because we have long neglected basic preventative measures. “We invest vast amounts of money in healthcare,” he writes, “but comparatively little in health.” Readers looking to learn how governments (mainly the U.S.) mishandled the pandemic have a flood of books to choose from, but Galea has bigger issues to raise. Better medical care will not stop the next epidemic, he warns. We must structure a world “that is resilient to contagions.” He begins by describing the current state of world health, where progress has been spectacular. Global life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900. Malnutrition, poverty, and child mortality have dropped. However, as the author stresses repeatedly, medical progress contributed far less to the current situation than better food, clean water, hygiene, education, and prosperity. That’s the good news. More problematic is that money is a powerful determinant of health; those who have it live longer. Galea begins the bad news by pointing out the misleading statistic that Covid-19 kills less than 1% of those infected; that applies to young people in good health. For those over 60, it kills 6%, for diabetics, over 7%, and those with heart disease, over 10%. It also kills more Blacks than Whites, more poor than middle-class people, and more people without health insurance. The author is clearly not just interested in Covid. He attacks racism, sexism, and poverty in equal measure, making a plea for compassion toward stigmatized conditions such as obesity and addiction. He consistently urges the U.S. government, which has spared no expense and effort to defeat the pandemic, to do the same for social injustice.

An oft-ignored but fully convincing argument that “we cannot prevent the next pandemic without creating a healthy world.”

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-19-757642-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more