These are specially selected books because they are primarily first person accounts that are very readable and very revealing of political realities and human behavior. Watergate unfolded like a combination of a Shakespearean drama as Nixon tries to escape the noose of truth while the daily broadcasts of the Watergate hearings brought the country to a uniform standstill and played like one of the best serialized dramas. The characters in the drama – the authors of the books below and Nixon’s adies – are all people true to their principles and points of view. These books are worth reading in succession. The end point of this mass or books is an obsession for the truth and a reverence for the Constitution.
Popular books about Watergate
First Person Accounts of the Senate Watergate Committee & John Dean
Fred Thompson, Minority Counsel (later Senator and Actor) Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Watergate Committee), headed the Republican investigation and worked cooperatively with the Chief Counsel Sam Dash. Thompson worked closely with Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) the Ranking Minority Member of the Select Committee.
Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Watergate Committee) whose wise hand and learned mind guided the Senate investigation with the truth as the only goal and upholding the Constitution as the primary objective. Ervin was in late 70s when he chaired the Committee. This authoritative account is his personal account.
First Person Accounts of the Special Prosecutor, Watergate Conspirators & Nixon Tapes
Judge John Sirica, US District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Watergate grand jury take the burglary from an obscure break-in to a full national and Constitutional crisis from which President Nixon on escaped going to jail with his co-conspirators because Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski declined to sign the Nixon indictment, knowing that Impeach process would handle Nixon singularly.
Richard Ben-Veniste, George Frampton, Jr, Assistant Special Prosecutors, were both young maverick prosecutors part of both Special Prosecutors’ teams. Under Special Prosecutor Harvard Professor Archibald Cox, Ben-Veniste and Frampton bloomed as investigative leads. Their fates changed under the more circumspect Texas lawyer Leon Jaworski who was able to get more tapes from the Nixon administration but would not consider the grand jury’s request to prosecute Nixon for the same crimes as his co-conspirators.
Third Person Histories of Watergate & Its Effects on the Nation
President Gerald Ford granted Richard M. Nixon a pardon on September 8, 1974, one month after Nixon resigned from office in disgrace. Effectively removed from the reach of prosecutors, Nixon returned to California, uncontrite and unconvicted, convinced that time would exonerate him of any wrongdoing and certain that history would remember his great accomplishments—the opening of China and the winding down of the Vietnam War—and forget his “mistake,” the “pipsqueak thing” called Watergate.
This is the first truly comprehensive history of the political explosion that shook America in the 1970s, and whose aftereffects are still being felt in public life today. Drawing on contemporary documents, personal interviews, memoirs, and a vast quantity of new material, Stanley Kutler shows how President Nixon’s obstruction of justice from the White House capped a pattern of abuse that marked his entire tenure in office.