In its review of Watergate: A New History , by Garrett M. Graff, the Washington Post notes that “half a century has passed” since the arrests of five men at the Democratic National Committee’s offices inside the Watergate office complex, raising the pertinent question: “During that time scores of books, totaling untold thousands of pages have been published about the scandal . . . Do we need still another Watergate book?”
The Post says, resoundingly, yes ! And while it claims that Graff is not trying to “re-investigate” Watergate, it applauds Graff’s conclusion, seemingly without substantial evidence, that the motivation of Post source Deep Throat was churlish: “Graff appears to identify as [Mark] Felt’s motivation his loss in a rather unseemly competition to succeed J. Edgar Hoover as FBI Director.”
The Post also credits Graff’s “prodigious research,” while echoing his conclusion that “we’ll never know the full truth of Watergate” because “its remaining mysteries are spread among too many people, many of whom are dead.” Graff, the Post approvingly notes, can’t fathom who ordered the break-in and why. Graff finds multiple theories, exploring none in depth.
If observations like these are used to justify a new 679-page history, one may ask, why bother? Why read a book that throws up its hands and says, “Who knows?
One answer comes in Graff’s treatment of two seminal revisionist works, Jim Hougan’s 1984 Secret Agenda and Len Colodny’s 1991 Silent Coup . These two works, in fact, solve quite convincingly many of the mysteries Graff contends are still shrouded.
For instance, Hougan’s masterful outing of the CIA’s infiltration of the White House and specifying the targeted bordello of the pseudonymous “Tess,” provide satisfying answers. Silent Coup follows up on Secret Agenda , and exposes “Tess” as bordello madame Cathy Dieter, which has profound implications. More to the […]
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