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“Watergate: A Novel” By Thomas Mallon Is Brilliant, Fun Historical Fiction

May 14, 2012

I wondered at various times while reading Thomas Mallon’s Watergate: A Novel if other readers less interested in Richard Nixon, and the themes surrounding “a third-rate burglary” would be as amused with the book.

To be honest, I am not sure of the answer.

Since my teenage years I have loved the rollicking career of Nixon, and from reading too many books can separate my Magruder from Hunt and Mitchell.    While I wanted to tell others I met about the book I was unsure how much one needed to have already known–or cared–about the topics to find this book a gem.  I suspect that Mallon is writing for a crowd who already has a fair  amount of Watergate knowledge.

Mostly I have stayed quiet about the read, though the critics have been vocal in their love for the work.

Even though Mallon is one of our most esteemed historical novelists lets face the truth that Nixon is not everyone’s favorite topic for a spring-time read.  While I think this a great book for the beach this summer I can see many a reader to this blog smirking and disagreeing.

While I am trying to be honest with my readers, I also do not want to dissuade anyone from picking up this novel.  If you might be taken in by Mallon’s work about Watergate than by all means please pick up a copy as I can attest the writing and humor is superbly delivered.

There were times when reading late at night I needed to move to a different room if the character of Alice Roosevelt Longworth was making a scene so my hearty laughing would not wake up my better half.  Longworth proved to be the most lively and colorful of the  kaleidoscope of personalities that Mallon brought back to life.  I dare one not to snort over “The clock is dick-dick-dicking”.

The author creates a work of inference to weave all the plots and acts and questions of the time into one volume which then allows the reader to think that perhaps by the end of the book they know the inside story.

But in the end will we ever know?

Richard Nixon took many a secret with him to the grave, and I think HRH did too.

4 Comments
  1. renechang44 permalink
    May 3, 2013 12:21 PM

    Sure but why was Nixon castigated when other Presidents with no less crimes got away? Surely that is the more important question.

  2. May 19, 2012 7:08 AM

    I disagree. The Watergate was a serious miscarriage of justice. The book by Mallon perpetuates the myth that there was wrong doing at the Nixon White House. In addition it is creating a ne myth about Pa Nixon’s affair while in the White House.

  3. May 15, 2012 10:00 AM

    Loved the book. Mallon does an amazing job, and while some of it seems laughable, it all seems plausible, at least in some parallel universe. And the Alice Roosevelt Longworth character is a hoot — as she was in real life.

  4. May 15, 2012 12:22 AM

    Those of us who lived through the Nixon Years and Viet Nam, still find it a bit difficult to laugh at those years. Too many Young Men and Women of our generation died in that war, and died in the streets protesting it. We realized that every word from Nixon’s mouth was a lie, because we were receiving letters from the ground where the fighting was happening. They spoke the truth.
    But with the whole thing being unearthed and his resignation turning out like it did, perhaps it is time for a little mirth. Even Deep Throat was outed, and it is interesting to think of all the others who might have been involved. I’ll read it.

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