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Publishers WeeklyOne vast conspiracy begets another in this meticulous but unconvincing theory of the Watergate scandal. Historian Waldron argues that Vice President Richard Nixon was the "driving force" behind joint CIA-Mafia plots to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1959-1960. Waldrop further says that, as president, Nixon instigated the Watergate break-ins, undertaken by his "Plumbers" unit of old CIA Cuba hands, mainly to find a dossier that he feared could expose those earlier schemes. The author presents an exhaustive, lucid chronicle of Cuba and Watergate machinations and decades of Nixon sleaze: dirty campaign tricks, quid-pro-quo Mafia bribes, burglaries, and other felonies by his White House staff. But Waldron's central claims about Nixon's involvement in Castro-assassination plots and his Watergate motives are shaky and based largely on stray, ambiguous comments by marginal figures, "associate"-tracing through degrees of separation, and much rank speculation, all backed by confusing source notes. (Much of the book is a rehash of his similarly massive and implausible Legacy of Fear, which argued that the Mafia assassinated President Kennedy.) Readers will learn a lot from Waldron about America's Cuba policy and Nixon's many misdeeds, but the author's search for a narrow logic behind Nixon's omnidirectional paranoia and criminality distorts more than it clarifies. Photos.
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