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Publisher's Summary

The Final Days is the number-one New York Times best-selling, classic, behind-the-scenes account of Richard Nixon's dramatic last months as president. Moment by moment, Bernstein and Woodward portray the taut, post-Watergate White House as Nixon, his family, his staff, and many members of Congress strained desperately to prevent his inevitable resignation. This brilliant book reveals the ordeal of Nixon's fall from office - one of the gravest crises in presidential history.

©1976 Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 04-26-18

Good details, but feels like slo-mo asphyxiation

For fans of legally-fraught, political decision-making history, at a meticulous fine grain of fly-on-the-wall detail, this book is top-rank. I feel as if I was at the elbow of many elite decision-makers, and a few flounderers (lawyers among them), if not inside their minds. And this goes on almost minute by minute. Some folks would find this excruciating. I like it. Obviously dozens of central figures were interviewed at great length. The most interesting character, to my mind, was Alexander Haig as White House Chief of Staff. That was, to use an old football expression Nixon might appreciate, some fancy broken-field running, on Haig's part. He was basically keeping the show running in near-impossible conditions, with all sorts of complex personalities nearly flying off the handle every minute. That this whole unprecedented mess went with any smoothness at all (to an outside viewer) and with our legendary USA political continuity, we owe in no small part to Haig. Surely we do not owe this, at least per this account, to Richard Nixon, that old poker-player, who played his cards (and especially the crucial White House tapes) so close to his vest. Even his own lawyers were in the dark and thus being hung out to spin in the public relations winds for the sake of his own schemes of self-preservation, until absurdly late moments. Many times Nixon's staff would stand up to withering press fire and pressure from Congress and the Special Prosecutor, only to find their public assertions (based on the boss's claims) proven false. This tended to tie ethics-conscious lawyers into knots, and the authors didn't miss this aspect. In other words, Nixon seemed ready to throw any loyal personnel under the bus to preserve his own hide, when there seemed to him any sliver of possibility he might yet slither away clean, even when this perception was beyond absurd (e.g., in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court against him), given what he (and only he) knew at each moment. At the end his self-involvement seemed to blot out everything and everyone around him, though he finally settled down and gave a few good parting speeches. (Thanks to Ray Price for that.) I have great admiration for "the good Nixon," but this was the worst portrayal of "the bad Nixon" I've seen anywhere. And I've looked under a lot of rocks.
The only improvement I could imagine to this account, might be another editing pass that would make it a bit more sprightly in pacing and prose, maybe with a little more political history context sprinkled across it. Moments here actually seem gruelling, though it was plenty worth it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Timely

I had read this a number of years ago but decided that it was worth revisiting. It’s amazing - chilling - to see the parallels between 1973/4 and today. As others have noted, this account makes you the “fly on the wall” throughout many historic moments that culminated in the resignation of a president.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating account.

I have just finished listening to all the presidents men, and I am in the middle of this novel. In the previous novel's review I wrote, I stated that there are so many similarities between Nixon, and trump. That said, I will pose this question to those of you that read this. Do you think that these final days of Nixon's echo Trump's final days if he is impeached, and jettisoned from office? And yes, another question, Is Trump pardoned just like Nixon?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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What really happened during and after watergate

The life of a complex man who was the 37th president. Instead of making Nixon out to be some extremely evil villain the authors show the truth of how it went down. They show how something as small as a break in brought down the most powerful man in the world. In a way this book also humanize Richard Nixon a complex man who lived in a complex time and kept the company of some very bad people. A must read for any US history fan or any political fan expertly written and produced.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another classic from Woodward and Bernstein

this is a masterful, historical account of a tumultuous time in America. The authors have represented it well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ytrewq
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 07-31-18

gripping!

told like a good story, with the precision of historical account. describing not just what happened, but also what drove all the participants.

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Fantastic!

This book reads like a suspense thriller. Even though you know how it ends it’s exciting right to the end. Sad time in American history but knowing that we rose up again gives you faith in these troubled times.

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Excellent account of Nixon's final days in office.

a great place to start for those interested in Richard Nixon's fall from office, well presented

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Fascinating

Enthralling look at the Nixon White House and the personalities within. I was riveted throughout.

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Watergate and Beyond...

A part of history that we seem to be reliving in 2018. A painful but necessary read/listen for those of us who lived it as well as a new generation living it now...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful