The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon by Stanley I. Kutler


For Stanley Kutler, the first historian to contribute to the deluge of books about Watergate, the scandal was not merely an isolated political act, but the product of “the tumultuous events of the 1960s.” Thus, the first third of “The Wars of Watergate” profiles the decade’s social tensions and briefly traces how Richard M. Nixon’s career inevitably led to Watergate.

The remainder of the book details conversations and decisions by Nixon and his closest advisers after five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic Party national headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972.

Using recently released Nixon presidential papers and more than 60 interviews, Kutler thoroughly documents the cover-up by members of the Nixon Administration, including the President.

Despite the fact the break-in did not occur until the last year of the first Nixon Administration, Kutler believes that, in the most generic sense, “Watergate dominated Richard Nixon’s presidency.”

Consequently, there is no new information or interpretation about the event or the man in this work that does not fit the thesis that “corrosive hatred . . . decisively shaped Nixon’s own behavior, his career, and eventually his historical standing.” For Kutler, Nixon is Watergate.

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