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3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,160 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
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 inferen
ebook, 448 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 29, 2014 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
Watergate is an immensely complicated scandal with a cast of characters as varied as a Tolstoy novel.
Bob Woodward

Trading arms for hostages in the Iran Contra Affair or starting an illegal war in Iraq are events we would expect to take influential people down, and yet amazing enough, it seems to usually be something insignificant like the stained dress of an intern, tax evasion, or a third rate burglary that brings powerful people to their knees.

I was 5 years old when the Watergate break-in occu
Notorious prankster Richard Nixon and his wacky pals pull a practical joke on their political rivals. Hilarity ensues.

Watergate has been examined backwards and forwards, but Thomas Mallon attempts to put a new spin on it here by telling the story as historical fiction from the viewpoints of several people and examining the damage done to those involved or close to Nixon. Among the key players are E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent and author of spy thrillers who was one of the key planners of th
Paul Bryant
Jun 29, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
It has to be borne in mind that Nixon and his pal Kissinger were the war criminals who ordered the carpet bombing of North Vietnam, the secret bombing of Cambodia (not secret to the Cambodians but they were under strict instructions to keep quiet about it) and the napalming of men, women and children in those grim countries in that far-off time. It has to be borne in mind because otherwise you find yourself getting to like Nixon. He suffers so very much! He’s the best villain. He’s like the roly ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weaving fiction with fact – particularly when the subject matter is as documented, analyzed, evaluated, dramatized, and talked about as Watergate – is a particularly audacious task. I thought I had exhaustively read just about anything that could be said about Watergate. I was wrong.

Thomas Mallon’s new book is absolutely brilliant and unlike anything I’ve ever read about those dark days in the early 1970s. His real theme is what Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.” In a locale where political lif
Mary Ronan Drew
Feb 27, 2012 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Some authors are such favorites that you want to drop everything to read their new book the moment it's released. For me, Thomas Mallon is one of those must-read-now authors. He never disappoints. Dewey Defeats Truman, Bandbox, Mrs Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F Kennedy, although not what we traditionally mean when we call a book a page-turner are, nonetheless, books that you don't want to stop reading, the kind of book that never needs a bookmark because you don't put it down for longe ...more
Mar 19, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In my historical fiction genre study we have had the debate over how far back in time a book must be set in order for it to be considered 'historical'. Generally we have agreed that the author needs to have researched the time period/events and not just be making a record of his memories. Therefore today's 30-year-old could write historical fiction about the Vietnam War even though many of his readers may have lived through events at that time.

I'd like to add a caveat to that definition: don't
Ron Charles
Early in Thomas Mallon’s new novel about the Watergate scandal, President Nixon’s secretary wonders when her boss will get his own marble temple on the Mall. It’s the sort of arresting moment of naivete that frequently punctuates this witty, surprisingly humane dramatization of that vaudevillian chapter in American politics.

Four decades have passed since five bungling burglars were arrested in the Democratic National Committee headquarters, indelibly contaminating a posh commercial-residential c
Feb 18, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fiction
I loved this book.

It took me back, behind the scenes, the turbulence, the acrimony, the finger pointing, and the very real and, at times, fearful national tension and angst, to the most historic event of my late teenage years. By the time Richard Nixon resigned in August, 1974 I was facing my junior year of high school and it would be only two short years (long though to a teenage boy) before I would vote in my first Presidential election in 1976. Thomas Mallon's newly released fictionalized ac
Jan 01, 2012 Ilya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty fantastic. I don't know enough watergate history, and this book doesn't give the blow-by-blow, but rather tries to find some emotional truth in the humanoids, both highly-placed, and a few mostly-forgotten, who were a part of it. Will some reviewers be upset that the reader is encouraged to feel some sympathy for Nixon? Did Pat Nixon really have a sweet affair with a widower while she was in the White House? You have the sense reading every efficient, precise sentence that Mallon is vastl ...more
Historical fiction is tricky. The author must have a good grasp upon his subject matter if he wants his story to be believable enough. With his latest retelling of American History writ large, "Watergate" Thomas Mallon has not yet hit the ball far out of the ballpark but he has the bases loaded and the score tied at the bottom of the ninth!

The choice of subject was obviously a worthy one. For those of us that have studied the Nixon years at length, this was a somewhat refreshing look at a scanda
Victor Carson
I lived through the Watergate years in my mid-twenties and remember the basic outline of the events. So, I wasn't sure that this fictionalized account of the story would hold my interest. Since the novel is on the New York Times'list of the Notable Books of 2012, however, and I was able to obtain a copy of the Kindle edition for the New York Public Library, I decided to take up the text.

I was pleased with the tone of book, which was neither too harsh on Nixon and his cronies nor too soft. The au
May 20, 2013 Mackay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-novel
Rather at a loss about what to say. While I found this novel easily, almost compulsively, readable, I wonder what it has to say. I am someone who lived through the Watergate scandal, someone who was even obsessed by it at the time, so all the names and events within this book (with one or two exceptions) I knew, could picture, and had an already-formed opinion on (which may not be the case with other readers).

The novel makes a limp attempt to explain how the greatest constitutional crisis of th
Nov 27, 2012 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mallon's historical novel tells the story of Watergate from the perspective of several of the "bit players:" Fred LaRue (the bagman), E. Howard Hunt, Rose Mary Woods, Eliot Richardson, and Washington insider/Watergate outsider Alice Roosevelt Longworth. While the book is entertaining and interesting for one who is familiar with Watergate events, it results in a somewhat disjointed and incomplete telling of the story which could be confusing for someone not familiar with the events and characters ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Bibliophile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I was put off by the huge cast of characters, and had to do some googling to keep up, but after a hundred pages or so I was hooked. "Watergate" reads more like a dark comedy than a political thriller. Much of the wit and humour is provided by the female players, who come across as fairly sympathetic. The only one I found unconvincing was the fictional character of Clarine Lander, the sultry femme fatale in the center of the entirely unnecessary "mystery" of Fred LaRues father's death. ...more
Lynne Perednia
Feb 28, 2012 Lynne Perednia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How one perceives Thomas Mallon's latest work of historical fiction could well depend not so much on the merits of the work itself, but what one brings to it. Much of this novel may not make sense if one didn't live through 1972-73, when a third-rate burglary either took down a presidency or revealed a cancer on the honor of the nation.

For those of us who were amazed at the events and people of those times as they unfolded, Watergate (and Vietnam) remain definitive. For anyone to take on the who
Apr 11, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

All the way through this wonderful book, I kept trying to imagine whether someone who was too young for Watergate would enjoy it as much as I did, because much of the fun was getting an inside view of so many of the characters from Watergate, many of whom I'd almost forgotten: preppy Jeb Magruder, CIA loyalist Jim McCord, House Speaker Carl Albert, secretary of everything Elliot Richardson, and on and on.

Mallon also introduces certain characters and storylines that bring fresh life to some of t
Oct 23, 2013 RJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Interesting novelized look at Watergate. Many points of view here, not just major figures like President and Pat Nixon, Howard Hunt and Rose Woods, but others such as the lesser known Fred LaRue and the oldest Republican of them all, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Viewed through all those lenses it makes for a fresh look on Watergate.

Mallon sympathetically portrays figures routinely villainized today, more fodder for the never ending culture wars (that the "Great Uniter" is making worse than ever t
Kris Fernandez-everett
really did enjoy this book... perhaps if you were around for watergate when it really happened, this book won't resonate -- i sent a copy to my mom for her to read to let me know how good a job it did capturing the spirit of the time... from a historian's point of view, everything in there was historically accurate, which to me is the mark of good and great historical fiction...

the book was well-paced and very cleverly narrated, to the extent that you almost sympathized with what kind of a path
Apr 15, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got about 2/3 of the way through this and just couldn't stick with it anymore. Maybe it's because I was listening to this as an audiobook, but I just didn't find it all that interesting and I'm not sure why, as it's well-written. I think maybe the world just doesn't need a fictionalized version of Watergate. None of the characters were appealing and I found it hard to spend time with them. I needed a hero, someone to root for ... and since we know how this story ends, clearly it wasn't going t ...more
Mary Alice
Feb 16, 2015 Mary Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is for those of us who continue to be fascinated by Watergate and the downfall of a president. Though a novel, most of the characters are real and there's a HUGE cast of characters to help us keep them straight. Alice Roosevelt Longworth is a hoot, and Pat Nixon is the woman I could always feel for. As for Hunt, Liddy and Macgruder....I finally got them all straight.
Dec 12, 2015 Josh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When was a kid I used to have this plastic showerhead cover that was Richard Nixon's face. The showerhead stuck out through his mouth so the water would flow right through. I thought it was pretty funny when I was like 12, but I've never really known that much about Watergate. It was interesting reading this book and then doing research on what happened and on those who were involved. The book assumes the reader has prior knowledge of the people and history involved. The book is also definitely ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first thought when I saw this book was that this subject is used up, worn out, and written to death. Then I saw that Mallon was taking it on and I decided to give it a shot. He is one of the finest historical fiction writers and he's once again proven his mettle. His focus on characters that are less known in this drama (like Pat Nixon) is brilliant. His exploration of the cadre of president's daughters around at the time (Alice, Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, is a major-minor character) was int ...more
Mal Warwick
Oct 09, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you’re under the age of 45 or so, it would be surprising if you had any active memory of Watergate. More likely, your knowledge of the scandal comes from history books. Certainly, though, if you were born before, say, 1965 — or, for sure, before 1960 — the events of those tragic days are probably burned into your memory. It would have been difficult indeed for anyone following the news during that awful time not to remember at least some of the names of the leading characters in the scandal: ...more
John McDonald
Oct 07, 2015 John McDonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On June 18, 1972, in the early morning hours of the day after the Watergate burglary occurred, I arrived in Washington, D.C. around 2 a.m. I was on my way to an apartment at Catholic University where I would stay temporarily while I was settling into a new job as a law clerk at the US Information Agency, and I stopped at a Washington Post newspaper box, bought a paper, found the apartment, and sat down to read it before I went to bed. I had traveled 800 miles from Bloomington, Indiana, where my ...more
May 24, 2014 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My expectation for the book was different than what the book provided so my review and rating are partially based on the fact that I expected black humor, and while there was some, that was not the focus or intention of the book as a whole.

Watergate was a topic of conversation and argument in my household. Nightly the news would rehash the latest details of the affair and discuss the idea of the president's impeachment. Talk shows and current affairs shows spent hours debating every angle and al
Steve Mayer
Jun 01, 2014 Steve Mayer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freud once said "nothing human is alien to me," and one of the virtues of this book is that it makes Richard Nixon and his wife all too human. Like Watergate itself, the book is more about the coverup than the burglary, and it looks at the burglary almost solely from the point of view of the conspirators and their allies. Both the reader and the perpetrators wind up confused by the burglary--what was it about?--and Mallon even suggests, archly, that the whole thing may have been due to a misunde ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. I picked this because I was interested in learning about Watergate while enjoying a novel . The author seemed to assume you knew all about Watergate and it's players, and the talk just felt like some good ol boys blah-blah. I did like learning a little about Pat Nixon and his secretary, Rosemary Woods. But others were nearly left out--Chuck Colson among them. I thought it wasn't well written, and I was amazed that a story as ripe for interest was made gouge-my-eyes-out boring.
LAPL Reads
Jan 29, 2014 LAPL Reads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although most of the events of the Watergate scandal are well-documented, there is still much that may never be known about what exactly happened. Who really ordered the break-in? What was on the missing 18 1/2 minutes of one White House tape? Who was the master organizer of the conspiracy?

Sometimes the events of Watergate sound like they should be part of a good mystery novel, but Thomas Mallon takes a different approach here. Instead of looking at the grand conspiracy, Mallon weaves a story of
Dec 12, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book will never end....

I guess that's what it felt like to live through Watergate - drawn out, confusing, and with an unwieldy cast of characters.

Just as Americans of the 1970s did, I will carry on.

Update: I finished. Thank goodness. Now I have to go back and figure out what was fact and what was fiction.
Peter Steele
If you lived through the time or read anything about the affair, you probably won't get much from this novelized version. You'll feel badly about Pat, but otherwise there's probably nothing new to be had.These people seem just as gray in the novel as they did in real life.
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Kingston Frontena...: Book of the Week: Watergate, by Thomas Mallon 1 8 Apr 16, 2013 03:01PM  
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Thomas Mallon is a novelist, critic and director of the creative writing program at The George Washington University.

He attended Brown University as an undergraduate and earned a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He received the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in 1994 and won a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1987. Mallon taught English at Vassar College from 1979-1991.

Mallon is the author of the
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