As the 20th anniversary of Richard Nixon's fall and tarnishing of the presidential image approaches, Emery provides an intricate, meticulously researched narrative that draws heavily on interviews with the principals to explain how and why the Watergate break-in occurred. A former Washington correspondent of The Times of London who is now with the BBC, Emery is also the author of a five-part TV series on Watergate to be aired this August on the Discovery Channel. In addition to an introductory section on the cast of characters involved, Emery provides a detailed examination of the Committee To Re-elect the President (CRP) and its dirty tricks: wiretapping, money laundering campaigns, and the infamous burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters. Unlike much of the psychopersonal material that has come out on Nixon, Emery's book focuses on the tough political problems, documenting the need for impeachment and ultimately endorsing it. Riveting reading that is based on an unprecedented combing of the primary sources, this work will be especially helpful to the generations for whom Watergate is a nebulous historical event and will provide an excellent corrective to the whitewashing that ocurred on Nixon's recent death. [See also Jonathan Aitken's Nixon: A Life, LJ 5/1/94.-Ed.]-Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
The infamous tapes that sank Nixon are only 60 hours' worth of deleted expletives and cover-up conspiring; with more than 5,000 hours still secret, the cascade of books about his presidency will not soon run dry. However, given Emery's spare, meticulously fair, and thoroughly engrossing account, it will be a long time before the bugging scandal is better told. Far from dance-on-the-grave vindictiveness (though Nixon looks worse than ever), the ex-president at least receives from Emery, a British journalist, a worldly appreciation of his dilemmas in trying to escape the tightening political and criminal net. Each fateful event in the saga--the setup of Gordon Liddy's spy unit, his men's arrest at the Democratic Party offices, the panicky destruction of documents that began the cover-up, Judge "Maximum John" Sirica's draconian sentences of the burglars, and thence the accelerating slide toward impeachment, with each revelation more astonishing than the last--has since become part of the national folklore. Emery takes us back with forensic caution and a signal lack of hyperbole and proves once more that facts are stranger than fiction. The other Watergate books, by principals or scalp-waving journalists, repose in libraries; count this as a fascinating, objective synthesis of them that also plumbs news archives (such as that of the late H. R. Haldeman). Popularity is certain.