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First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington

30 November 2006
State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... Who is BobWoodward? If his books had no jackets, if the prefaces and acknowledgments were ripped away; if you’d never watched American television or read the US papers; if all you had were the texts and you read them ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Kicking Dick Cheney

2 August 2007
... of a job in a Republican administration after the end of next year. Gellman and Becker’s series is bound to bring to mind the Washington Post’s most famous piece of investigative reporting. But BobWoodward and Carl Bernstein helped to bring down a president mid-term, whereas Gellman and Becker are kicking an administration that’s already down (which isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve it ...

I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place

David Runciman: In the White House

11 October 2018
Fear: Trump in the White House 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon & Schuster, 448 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 1 4711 8129 0
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... to be called politics. So how come office battles often feel all-consuming? It’s like the old joke about academic life: ‘Why are the disputes so poisonous? Because the stakes are so low.’ BobWoodward’s new book about the first year of the Trump administration raises some of these thorny issues, but it turns them on their head. No one could doubt that having Trump in the White House is an ...
19 June 1980
The Bretheren: Inside the Supreme Court 
by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong.
Secker, 467 pp., £7.95, March 1980, 0 436 58122 1
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... between clerk and Justice is typically intimate – many Justices have said that they come to regard clerks as sons and daughters – and is in every case supposed to be based on confidentiality. Woodward (the famous hero of Watergate journalism) and Armstrong, his colleague at the Washington Post, apparently succeeded in shattering that confidentiality, for most of their ‘inside stories’ (if true ...

At the Party

Christopher Hitchens

17 April 1986
Hollywood Babylon II 
by Kenneth Anger.
Arrow, 323 pp., £5.95, January 1986, 0 09 945110 7
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Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan 
by Robin Wood.
Columbia, 336 pp., $25, October 1985, 0 231 05776 8
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... Borzage’s Three Comrades? At any rate, it’s interesting to learn that her wretched biography, written by her daughter Brooke Hayward, was entitled Haywire – much like the heading under which BobWoodward interred John Belushi. I remember being given a tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills by a screenwriter friend a few years ago. With unmistakable civic pride he pointed out the house on Cielo ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes

5 November 2015
The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... it seemed obvious that Nixon was heading for a landslide victory in November’s election. The episode seemed to be nothing more than a ‘caper’ undertaken by over-enthusiastic underlings. Only BobWoodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, two inexperienced journalists on the local beat, persisted with the story. For the moment, the burglars kept quiet, and no mud stuck. On 7 November ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler

17 July 1997
Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... Nobody, of course, had the remotest idea how far the story would lead. But the Post, with its strong local section, promptly put three reporters to work on the story, including two youngsters, BobWoodward and Carl Bernstein, whose position on the paper had been, at best, precarious. From the day the story surfaced until Nixon’s resignation the Post led the way, leaving the New York Times, hampered ...

From Lying to Leering

Rebecca Solnit: Penis Power

19 January 2017
... complained about Clinton’s ‘sharp, lecturing tone’, which, he said, was ‘not so attractive’, while MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell gave her public instructions on how to use a microphone, BobWoodward bitched that she was ‘screaming’ and Bob Cusack, the editor of the political newspaper the Hill, said: ‘When Hillary Clinton raises her voice, she loses.’ One could get the ...
15 October 1981
Blind Eye to Murder 
by Tom Bower.
Deutsch, 501 pp., £9.95, July 1981, 0 233 97292 7
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The Road to Nuremberg 
by Bradley Smith.
Deutsch, 303 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 233 97410 5
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... get hurt unjustly in the process – though they have their remedy in the courts. It is true that hubris can sometimes get the better of professional caution. The prestigious Washington Post and BobWoodward himself failed, despite warnings, to check out the story on a five-year-old drug addict written by the wretched Janet Cooke, who won her Pulitzer Prize and subsequently had to return it when her ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity

29 November 2007
Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, August 2007, 978 0 7139 9796 5
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Henry Kissinger and the American Century 
by Jeremi Suri.
Harvard, 368 pp., £18.95, July 2007, 978 0 674 02579 0
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... with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq cannot wait.’ And even as critics of the war were focusing their anger on the neo-Jacobinism of Paul Wolfowitz and Co, the old Metternich hand was, as BobWoodward reported, exerting a ‘powerful, largely invisible influence on Bush’s Iraq policy’, regularly meeting with the president and Cheney, dusting off his old Vietnam-era memos to urge the ...

Obama’s Delusion

David Bromwich: The Presidential Letdown

22 October 2009
... with fewer than half a million troops on the ground for a decade or more. The generals are for adding troops, as in Vietnam, in increments of tens of thousands. Their current request was leaked to BobWoodward, who published it in the Washington Post on 21 September, after Obama asked that it be kept from the public for a longer interval while he deliberated. The leak was an act of military ...

Advantage Pyongyang

Richard Lloyd Parry

9 May 2013
The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future 
by Victor Cha.
Bodley Head, 527 pp., £14.99, August 2012, 978 1 84792 236 6
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... identified the North as a potential target for pre-emptive attack, alongside Iraq and Iran. In a meeting with a group of senators, he called Kim Jong Il ‘a spoiled child’ and a ‘pygmy’. When BobWoodward raised the subject, he feared the president was about to vault out of his chair. ‘I loathe Kim Jong Il,’ Bush told him, ‘waving his finger in the air’. Human rights in North Korea ...
10 December 1998
Between Us Girls 
by Joe Orton.
Hern, 224 pp., £14.99, October 1998, 1 85459 374 9
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‘Fred & Madge’ and ‘The Visitors’ 
by Joe Orton.
Hern, 224 pp., £12.99, October 1998, 1 85459 354 4
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... I think I’m going crazy!’ she declares. ‘At the hairdresser’s Miss Fleur gave me the most awful restyle. Just terrible.’ Susan spends her evenings with life-of-the-party Monty Woodward, who dresses up in women’s clothes and pretends to be Lucrezia Borgia or Cleopatra. She has to take him home after one party when he is ‘feeling ill’. Susan is genuinely thrilled when she gets ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland

23 September 2004
... gave up the booze. In doing so, he made common cause with God and the religious right, an alliance that would remake his politics and get his father out of his system. In more recent times, asked by BobWoodward why he didn’t seek the opinion of his father before going to war with Saddam Hussein (given that his father was the only other person in the world to have been a president and to have done ...
21 November 1985
Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... more compelling than the desire to celebrate it. Hollywood best-sellers, fiction and non-fiction, have never been slow to dish the dirt, but few books have equalled the misguided obsessiveness of BobWoodward’s recent life of the drug-addicted comedian John Belushi, and, it should be added, few have been so telling or so readable as Indecent Exposure, David McClintick’s relentlessly ...

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