“Watergate: A New History”

Watergate – what does it all mean?

“Watergate: A New History” takes an in-depth look at an event that changed politics. Today, most people know about “Watergate” from films and television. What people “think” happened is sometimes very far different from what actually did happen.  Even those who remember events from fifty years ago do not have clear, concise, or accurate recollections. “Watergate: A New History” revisits those familiar events and evaluates, condenses, and reorganizes them while maintaining the historical legacy as well as the bizarreness that “Watergate” has come to represent.

“Power” is Washington’s main marketable product, and this is a story about power—the hunger for it, the drive to protect it, the challenges to it, those who have it and those who are driven to have more.   It is also a story full of contradictions, inadvertent mistakes, and deliberate deception. Those familiar details are just a sliver of the full story. After all, nearly every major player ended up being charged with lying, perjury, or obstruction of justice.

The book also reminds readers of the “forgotten” positive accomplishments of Richard Nixon.  He was the first president to visit Peking, the first to stand in Moscow. He signed Title IX, the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. The list goes on, and yet the one word, “Watergate,” has come to define his presidency.

“Watergate” is the scandal that defines all other scandals. It inspired a generation of investigative journalists who became not just observers of events but also participants with subjective voices. Now, fifty years later, what does it all mean? “Watergate: A New History” attempts to answer that question. It reminds us of one of the most famous “unknown names in American history: William Mark Felt, Sr., of Twin Falls, Idaho, son of a carpenter, who was “Deep Throat.” It also reveals the origin of another “famous” moniker. When the grandmother of David Young, a member of Nixon’s special investigation team, asked what he did in the White House, he replied that he helped the president stop some leaks. She replied, proudly, “Oh, you’re a plumber!” And the rest is history.

I received a review copy of “Watergate: A New History” from Garrett M. Graff and Simon & Schuster Publishing. “Watergate: A New History” is now available in print, on Kindle, and as an audiobook from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere books are sold