The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, July 4, 2014

SHADOW: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate By Bob Woodward

Shadow by Bob WoodwardPublisher:  Simon & Schuster
Release Date:  June 2000
Pages:  608
Genre:  American History
Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Twenty-five years ago, after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, Gerald Ford promised a return to normalcy. "My fellow Americans, 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. With special emphasis on the human toll, Woodward shows the consequences of the new ethics laws, and the emboldened Congress and media. Powerful investigations increasingly stripped away the privacy and protections once expected by the nation's chief executive.

Shadow is an authoritative, unsettling narrative of the modern, beleaguered presidency.

Bob WoodwardWC's Review:  With a few more grains of salt than necessary, the reader must accept the intimate findings of personal behavior Watergate author Woodward comes up with concerning the five presidents honored to serve at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since that world changing crime committed by Nixon in 1972. 

The pardon of Nixon by Ford was predictable but smelly, for the press wanted tricky Dick to suffer both emotionally and physically. The stocks in Lafayette Square were not sufficient. A cacophonic media cheer and the sale of peanuts went up when Carter was elected.

Jimmy remains a mystery to this day for no one knew what the hell he was doing, and continues to do today. He did enjoy an intimate relationship with PLO Yassir Arafat even to the murderous thug's death. He and Rosalyn continue to visit his grave site.

Woodward grudgingly accepts the premise that Reagan was good. He does, however, make an excessive deal of Iran Contra, but admits that forces under the leadership of Ollie North were to blame. Nary a word, however, about the saving of students in Grenada. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The elder Bush really did not care to be president but once enamored by the power and prestige found it viable. "No more taxes" and "I hate broccoli" didn't help the thousand lights on the hill. 

Truly, the book is about the Clintons. Woodward reminds us of the daily sordidness of both participants but never explains why the press accepted her in the White House and her arrogant role in health care. He affirms that low life (we, the people) were not to be seen in highness's presence. Bill's legacy seems to be his revisionist defining of words. "I did not have sex with that woman."

The bottom line: How does Woodward know this stuff, and if he knows it is credible, why doesn't he come clean in all the subhuman behavior of the elect?

The Author:  Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collectively earned the Post and its National Reporting staff a Pulitzer Prize.