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Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon

Watergate: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Thomas Mallon

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2051157,211 (3.73)12
Title:Watergate: A Novel
Authors:Thomas Mallon
Info:Pantheon (2012), Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:ARC, read in 2012, historical fiction, washington, richard nixon, alice roosevelt, staff pick

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Watergate by Thomas Mallon (2012)




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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The title is self-explanatory. This is a perfect novel for someone like me, who's always found the topic fascinating. The characters are fully fleshed-out, with plausible motives. I don't know how much is fictionalized and how much actually happened, particularly with the dialogue. And the biggest surprise was John Mitchell, who ends up being pretty sympathetic. I just loved this book, and will be looking for more of Mallon's work. ( )
  Lightfantastic | Nov 6, 2013 |
As a journalist, I’ve struggled in some previous attempts to immerse myself in historical fiction. The problem has been especially glaring when I delve into historical periods or events that I yearn to know more about.
Perhaps my problem could be best illustrated with an analogy. To me, devouring historical fiction can sometimes be similar to sitting down at a burger joint and having the chef tell you that the juicy hamburger you’re about to enjoy is 90 percent pure beef – and 10 percent synthetic meat. Hmmm. Was that bite I just took the real thing? Or did it have a disproportionate amount of “fake stuff” blended into it? I’m starting to think that bite tasted kind of funny…
But I’m rambling. You get the idea why I approached Thomas Mallon’s novel Watergate with some hesitation. After all, I lived through the era – albeit as a teenager. My stint in journalism school was filled with class discussions about Woodward and Bernstein, dissections of their landmark tome All the President’s Men and screenings of the movie version. Many of students enrolled in journalism studies in the late 70s were there because they had become enthralled with investigative arenas dominated by characters like Deep Throat (the Washington informant – not the adult film icon.)
Despite these concerns, I loved Mallon’s book. His brilliant ability to show how tiny blunders can change the course of history kept me interested through the final chapters. The author’s vivid depictions of Nixon, John and Martha Mitchell, Rose Mary Woods and – the book’s central character – Fred LaRue, gave me a new perspective and a rekindled interest in this political tragedy.
True, I found myself continually asking “okay, is that twist what really happened?” Or wondering how much license Mallon took with the proclivities of this character or that character. But to the author’s credit, my preoccupation with avoiding fake meat took a holiday. I enjoyed reliving some of Watergate’s milestone moments – even relishing the literary license that Mallon took in imagining what some of the key players were thinking, and how they were feeling.
I’m quite sure that many historians will take issue with Mallon’s theory that Nixon had no advance knowledge of the burglary that changed history. I’m not sure I even buy this premise, and I was founder of a tiny local group called “Kids for Nixon” back in the early 70s. Please cut me some slack. I was 12 or 13 at the time!
If you’re interested in the Watergate saga, pick up Mallon’s work. And just enjoy the burger. Don’t obsess over the recipe. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Sep 29, 2013 |
impressive. plausible and debatable. ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
I listened to this as an audio book. I enjoyed the recap the events, but as usual, I'm bothered by the novelization of real individuals who lived through recent events. I'm distrustful of the story as described; if the author was confident about their research, why not write non-fiction? ( )
  gbelik | Aug 5, 2013 |
When I first heard about Thomas Mallon's fictional take on the Watergate scandal, my first reaction, revealing my extreme old age, was "too soon?" I wondered why Mallon would try his hand at this material when most of the nonfiction books about the subject read like thrillers anyway. I needn't have worried, because Mallon creates something new and worthwhile, and makes you feel sympathy for some of these long-reviled characters. Aside from Nixon himself, most of the major players in the scandal - Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, Mitchell - are cameos, while the substantial characters, such as Fred LaRue, are less well known to the casual reading public. That choice allows Mallon freedom to invent, and the tale he spins is an engrossing one. The actual Watergate affair was, of course, a masculine business, but Mallon gives women some starring roles in this book, including Pat Nixon (her story is definitely fictionalized here), Rosemary Woods, and the bitingly funny Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Old-school Watergate aficionados will pick out some factual errors, but nothing that should hinder enjoyment of the story. ( )
  CasualFriday | Sep 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A sure winner, for its subject and Mallon's proven track record as a historical novelist, and because it's good.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, David Keymer (Oct 15, 2011)
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A retelling of the Watergate scandal, as seen through a kaleidoscope of its colorful perpetrators and investigators.

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