Home Issues Leaders Recent Grid Archive Senate House VoteMatch_Quiz FAQs
Book Reviews Archive Contents  2012 Election:  Obama's book Biden's book Romney's book Ryan's book      2012   Debates 

Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,
by Bob Woodward

(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book is about scandals. It's not a policy analysis nor a biography: it's just "inside baseball" about five presidents. The concept of the book is to analyze how Nixon's Watergate scandal affected each of the subsequent five presidents, from Gerald Ford through Bill Clinton. As the book flap describes:

"Our long national nightmare is over," President Ford declared. But it was not. The Watergate scandal, and the remedies against future abuses of power, would have an enduring impact on presidents and the country. In Shadow, Bob Woodward takes us deep into the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, to describe how each discovered that the presidency was forever altered."

That all sounds very noble, but the book reads just like any other scandal-sheet. Woodward was one of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal that eventually forced Nixon to resign -- so he has earned the right to talk about scandals -- but the only difference with other scandal-sheets is that Woodward has better access because of his fame.

The book is divided into five chapters, one for each president. Woodward dedicates fully half the book -- 282 pages out of 514 -- to Clinton's presidency. Perhaps that's because he's the most recent president covered, or perhaps it's because his administration was more scandal-ridden than most. In any case, the level of detail on Clinton is far too much for any normal voter to handle, and the same applies even to the shorter Gerald Ford chapter (only 38 pages, focusing mostly on why Ford pardoned Nixon).

For political junkies, the level of details in this book provide endless joy and speculation. For the rest of us, these excerpts should be plenty.

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Dec. 2011

    Woodward has several other books excerpted by OnTheIssues, some of which are a little less tedious to read:
  • The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House (2005)
  • The Choice: How Bill Clinton Won (2005)
  • State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III (2006)
  • Plan of Attack: Bush at War, Part II (2004)
  • Bush At War (2002)
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
    David Souter: Stewardship of Constitution means don't overturn Roe v. Wade.
    George Bush Sr.: 1973: Nominally in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Foreign Policy
    Jimmy Carter: 1977: Ended 20 years of secret CIA bribes to Jordanian king.
Government Reform
    Bill Clinton: Campaign promise: support Independent Counsel investigations.
    Bill Clinton: Independent Counsel is cornerstone of trust of government.
Homeland Security
    Ronald Reagan: We're armed because we mistrust each other, not vice versa.
Principles & Values
    Bill Clinton: 1995: Budget impasse caused federal shutdown & MonicaGate.
    Bill Clinton: OpEd: Clinton's love goes hand-in-hand with abuse.
    Bill Clinton: Arkansas trooper declined to cover up for Governor Clinton.
    Bill Clinton: There IS no relationship with Monica, and WAS none.
    Gerald Ford: Pardoning Nixon carries an imputation of guilt & confession.
    Hillary Clinton: Felt she should have known Foster suicide was coming.
    Jimmy Carter: 1975 campaign promise: I'll never lie to you.
    Richard Nixon: Accepting pardon carries an imputation of guilt & confession.
War & Peace
    Colin Powell: 1990: Encourage Iraqi to leave Kuwait to avoid US deaths.
    George Bush Sr.: 1990: Diplomatic solution to Kuwait forces larger crisis.
    Gerald Ford: 1975: Ordered US aircraft to evacuate South Vietnamese.
    Ronald Reagan: Ok to break law on Iran-Contra to protect hostages.

The above quotations are from Shadow:
Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,
by Bob Woodward.

All material copyright 1999-2015
by OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

E-mail: [email protected]
Send donations or submit quotations to:
1770 Massachusetts Ave. #630
Cambridge, MA 02140

Home Page
Most recent quotations Archive of books & debates Candidate Matching Quiz

Page last edited: Jan 31, 2012