The Trump era made me a Watergate junkie. It’s as simple as that. If there’s a new book on Watergate, I’m reading it.
I’ve become fascinated with the twisted story of Nixon and his cronies, especially how power can imbue one with a sense of dignity and grace, at least in the public eye. Most of us need to go to bed at night assuming our leaders are competent adults who wouldn’t hurt a fly unless it was absolutely necessary and who have it all under control.
As we get older, wiser, we know this to be a farce. Our leaders are all too human as we are human. Part of the reason why we build personality cults around them is that we need to believe in the best of their humanity to get us through.
The Trump era, should have disabused us all of that notion. Our nation handed over to a gang of petty ante criminals, Stephen King villains, and shameless grifters who sucked the marrow out of all they could exploit before being mercifully booted in January.
Just don’t overlook the Nixon crew.
These guys were morons, completely in over their head. Michael Dobbs documents the six month decline from relative security to total chaos, showing that these guys had no idea what they were doing, protected only by the imprimatur of state legitimacy. The focus is not on the journalists, congress folk or public, but the powerbrokers and friends of Richard Nixon.
Using the three act play, Dobbs intends to cast the story as a drama. And it is. Perhaps it’s a cheap trick he uses. It’ll be familiar to the Watergate buff. But it’s still a fun way to tell it.
This book has been billed as a great starter to understanding Watergate. I actually disagree. It helps to know more about the break in, more about Liddy and Hunt and McCord. Start with All the President’s Men and/or Blind Ambition. But make your way here quickly. Don’t let this be the first or the last stop.