Watergate in American Memory: How We Remember, Forget, and Reconstruct the Past

Watergate in American Memory: How We Remember, Forget, and Reconstruct the Past

by Michael Schudson, Schudson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0465090834

ISBN-13: 9780465090839

Pub. Date: 11/17/1993

Publisher: Basic Books

It began with a burglary, the objectives of which are to this day unclear, and it led to the unprecedented resignation of a president in disgrace. For years the story dominated the airwaves and the headlines. Yet today a third of all high school students do not know that Watergate occurred after 1950, and many cannot name the president who resigned. How do Americans…  See more details below

Overview

It began with a burglary, the objectives of which are to this day unclear, and it led to the unprecedented resignation of a president in disgrace. For years the story dominated the airwaves and the headlines. Yet today a third of all high school students do not know that Watergate occurred after 1950, and many cannot name the president who resigned. How do Americans remember Watergate? Should we remember it? To what extent does our current "memory" of Watergate jibe with the historical record? Most important, who--the media? political elites? the courts?--are responsible for the particular version of those tumultous[sic] events we remember today? What Americans remember (and what they have forgotten) about the most traumatic domestic event in our recent history offers startling insights into the nature of collective memory. Michael Schudson, one of this country's most perceptive observers of the media, uses interviews, press accounts of recent political controversies, and poll data to explore how America's collective memory of Watergate has changed over the years, and what this reveals about how we can learn from the past. Schudson argues that Watergate was both a Constitutional crisis triggered by presidential wrongdoing and a scandal in which investigators pursued multiple, and sometimes veiled, objectives. He explores the continuing unsettled relationship between these two faces of Watergate. Liberals who deny that scandals are socially constructed miss part of the story, as do conservatives who deny or minimize the Constitutional crisis. The book gives special attention to several key domains where the memory of Watergate has been contested and transmitted: as a myth inside journalism, as a debate over reform legislation in Congress, as a set of lessons in school textbooks, as a new language for the public at large. Schudson's findings are often surprising. He argues that Richard Nixon has not been rehabilitated in the public mind and that there is good rea

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465090839
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
11/17/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,445,328
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.82(d)
Lexile:
1490L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Pt. IVersions of Watergate
1Thinking with Watergate: Constitutional Crisis or Scandal?9
2Revising Watergate: Routine or Aberration?34
3Collective Memory and Watergate51
Pt. IIWatergate in American Memory
4Memory Mobilized: Making Careers Out of Watergate69
5Memory Contested: Reform and the Lessons of the Past88
6Memory Mythologized: Watergate and the Media103
7Memory Contained: Conventionalizing Watergate127
8Memory Engrained: Post-Watergate Political Expectations148
9Memory Ignited: The Metaphor of Watergate in Ira-Contra165
10Memory Besieged: Richard Nixon's Campaign for Reputation185
Pt. IIIRemembering, Forgetting, and Reconstructing the Past
11The Resistance of the Past205
Notes223
Index269

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