Watergate by Thomas Mallon
A Novel

72%

6 Critic Reviews

Mallon’s coup is to show us how the smallest of differences – one less drink, one more cautionary word – just might have meant that Nixon’s legacy became that of a world historical leader, and not a petty crook.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

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.

 

About Thomas Mallon

See more books from this Author
Thomas Mallon is the author of eight novels, including Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, and Watergate. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.


Author Residence: Washington, D.C.
 
Published February 21, 2012 by Vintage. 450 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Watergate
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Curtis Sittenfeld on Mar 02 2012

...it’s the very fact that Mallon portrays Nixon and others so convincingly that raises questions about the fairness of depicting real people in a work of fiction.

Read Full Review of Watergate: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 15 2012

...Thomas Mallon invests the Watergate affair with all the glitter, glamour, suave grace and subtlety that it doesn’t often get.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Frank Gannon on Feb 21 2012

Only a novelist could do justice to the Dean story and the workings of his mind. It is disappointing that Mr. Mallon merely finesses him.

Read Full Review of Watergate: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Feb 22 2012

Watergate is the sort of book that will ensnare you in its web of intrigue while raising as many questions as it answers.

Read Full Review of Watergate: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Scott Martelle on Feb 19 2012

Mallon's imagery is at times surgically precise, as in describing Vice President Spiro Agnew, who would soon quit ahead of corruption charges unrelated to Watergate...

Read Full Review of Watergate: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Amidon on Sep 06 2012

Mallon’s coup is to show us how the smallest of differences – one less drink, one more cautionary word – just might have meant that Nixon’s legacy became that of a world historical leader, and not a petty crook.

Read Full Review of Watergate: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Reader Rating for Watergate
71%

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