Christina's Reviews > All the President's Men

All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein
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really liked it

I picked this book up out of a sense of depression about our current national politics. I thought I knew the story of Watergate, but it turns out that what I knew barely scratched the surface. The book is tightly written, so tightly that sometimes it seems cursory. The first 50 pages are particularly hard to get a handle on because so many names and job positions are being thrown at the reader in quick succession without much explanation. It may mimic the way Woodward and Bernstein felt when they began their investigation. However, once you figure out the who the major players are, the book is hard to put down. Written in a terse, reporter-like style, Woodward and Bernstein simply retell their investigation and where it lead. The most exciting part of the book for me was when they published a big break in the story (in October, 1972), and then realized that they got at least one of their details wrong.

Some things that surprised me:
1. It's amazing how quickly you forget what research looked like before the internet. Woodward and Bernstein have to WORK to track down even the most mundane information, like what a certain job title means, or whether or not someone works at the White House.
2. The various rules and customs that rule a newsroom. I found most of these to be both interesting and comforting. I don't know if this is still how newspapers like the Washington Post are run, but if they are, there's not too much danger of fake news.
3. How deep and high and wide ran the corruption! I had no idea. In some ways it was a comfort to realize that we've had an entirely corrupt administration in the White House before, and thankfully the country managed to pull through and, at least in some ways (I hope?) put it in the past and behave differently.
4. Breaking this story open was a collaborative effort. By that I don't just mean Woodward and Bernstein worked together (they did), but that multiple other news agencies were investigating and at times discovered important information before Woodward and Bernstein. I had the impression that it was all them, from start to finish.

Now I'm just hoping for another Woodward and Bernstein!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2017 – Finished Reading
March 23, 2017 – Shelved

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