Packed with revelations, Abuse of Power offers a spellbinding portrait of raw power and a Shakespearean depiction of a King and his court. Now, in this dramatic reconstruction of the tapes, the personalities of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Haig, Kissinger, and Dean are vividly captured in their own words. Finally, the full story of Nixon's downfall can be told.
©1997 Stanley I Kutler; (P)2009 Phoenix Books
First, William Windom's surname is misspelled. I hope someone will correct that one day. Second, he does a great job as Nixon. I've heard the actual tapes but could not always understand what was said. I'm glad they recreated the text so listeners can follow every word, still a chore given Nixon's verbal ping-ponging. So many actors have played Nixon over the past few years. I won't forget Frank Langella in the film version of the Nixon/Frost interviews. WW will leave his mark on this acting legacy as well.
Nixon is an all-time favorite non-fiction character for me. There is no end to all his facets and defects, all bundled up in one super-ambitious person bound to achieve greatly in the very moment he crashes and burns. He is a sort of everyman, if every man was a hard-drinking bright paranoid lawyer, playing manic 'roid-laced poker with politics, human careers, lives and national destinies, unable to stop self-destructing amidst seat-of-the-pants cliffhanger episodes all through. He wails and lashes out, but always with a touch of arch-lawyerly cleverness. He constructs plausible stories (and perjuries) on the fly, all phrased in mom-apple-pie-Americana window dressing, out of hopeless losing situations, prompting his cronies while trying to buck them up and prevent their jumping ship. One by one, they do, peeling away into court and congressional hearings, and they instantly become the new demons and enemies to be "destroyed." The voices here are actors, well-done, but the script is verbatim from the White House tapes. I like nothing better than to curl up on a chilly night and listen to Nixon conniving mentally-aloud with his (latest set of) cronies to extricate himself in underhanded fashion from the complex puzzles he has stumbled into. Call me crazy that way. He is really coming unraveled toward the end. I can't not listen in.
The listener should already be familiar with the basics of the Watergate story, to fully enjoy this.
The audible version of this book is somewhat disappointing: the characters are actors, which is surprising since, to the best of my knowledge, clean and digitized versions of the tapes are available. The actor playing Nixon is especially bad, he speaks much faster and is accent is very different. The other actors are not much better.
The tapes, fascinating in the beginning, become redundant after awhile. Nevertheless, it is an amazing piece of history, and in spite of the audio's shortcomings, I would still buy it again.
Purveyor of Fine Books
Whatever one may think about Watergate and the various interpretations regarding motives, who knew what and when, etc., this recording brings to vivid life the individuals whom Watergate was about. The voice acting of the three main readers is outstanding. You will feel as though you are sitting by President Nixon's side as each segment unfolds, gaining an insight into the leaders who made history and defined an era in American politics.
Rather good, but not in my top ten.
Nixon. The actor does a good job portraying him.
The actor who played Nixon and Kissinger. Both are great with accents.
A must-have for history and Watergate fans.
The "dramatizing" of this material makes it easier to comprehend and reveals clearly the events, words and act that resulted in Nixon's political and personal downfall.
The actor who portrays Nixon captures the essence of the tapes. He crystallizes excerpts from the tapes, which in print can come off as cryptic and confusing,
After studying Watergate, reading a number of books and articles, I finally have a clear idea of the scope of the issue - the number of people involved, the amount of time Nixon spent attempting to quash the issue and how easily Nixon was willing to sellout his most loyal staffers.
A great listen.
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