Book Review: All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Title: All The President’s Men: The Greatest Reporting Story of All Time

Author: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Genre: History, Nonfiction, Politics, Writing, Journalism, American History

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Published: June 3, 2014

Page Amount: 368 pages

Goodreads SummaryThis is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Menrevealed the full scope of the scandal and introduced for the first time the mysterious “Deep Throat.” Beginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing through headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward deliver a riveting firsthand account of their reporting. Their explosive reports won a Pulitzer Prize for The Washington Post, toppled the president, and have since inspired generations of reporters.

Why Read: Apparently this is a famous book.  This I learned after my cousin passed along his copy to me, and informed me that I really ought to read it. So naturally I let it sit on my desk for weeks… a month or two, before I ran out of other things to read and picked it up. We’ve all heard about Watergate, but reading how it came out to the public story by story is absolutely riveting. I read this book because a) I love all things American history and b) in the current political era, it seemed particularly cogent.

Review: Newspaper reporting was much more important back in the Nixon era than it is today. Sure, the New York Post, Washington Post and New York Times sell hard-copy but their primary readership is online. You don’t really get a sense of how much that has changed than by reading a book that describes a political catastrophe for the Nixon administration by talking about print headlines. The ‘Greatest Reporting Story of All Time’ can seem a bit slow at times because of it, even if it’s moving at lighting speed for its time and day.

The story itself is absolutely entrancing. How journalists use sources and choose to publish it isn’t something many of us consider when we’re reading the “Daily News Review” because it all seems casually chosen. That’s not the case at all. When reading this, I did gain some higher sense of appreciation for how important print media is. It helps to expose what is going on for the betterment of people, rather than (at least very idealistically in my opinion) the individual egos of each reporter.

One factor about the book that I really enjoyed was the detail given by both Woodward and Bernstein. It seems impossible that they can remember each moment, each meal between meeting Deep Throat and each mistake. It’s really engrossing reading and although it did take me a bit longer to finish than I’d planned – I enjoyed every second admiring the prose, the detail, and ultimately the narrative way that book is written. It’s not a light read, but not exceptionally heavy. It took me around three days to finish – and if you know me, you know that’s practically decades. The timing was off because I was legitimately enjoying each pace, and how I watch the story unfold. I wish it hadn’t ended, but then again, I’m very glad the Watergate scandal ended. One can only hope that reporters such as these continue to ferret out what we should know in our new administration. In two words: read it.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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