Shadow

Five Presidents And The Legacy Of Watergate

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About The Book

Twenty-five years ago, after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, Gerald Ford promised a return to normalcy. "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over," President Ford declared.
But it was not. The Watergate scandal, and the remedies against future abuses of power, would have an enduring impact on presidents and the country. In Shadow, Bob Woodward takes us deep into the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton to describe how each discovered that the presidency was forever altered. With special emphasis on the human toll, Woodward shows the consequences of the new ethics laws, and the emboldened Congress and media. Powerful investigations increasingly stripped away the privacy and protections once expected by the nation's chief executive.
Using presidential documents, diaries, prosecutorial records and hundreds of interviews with firsthand witnesses, Woodward chronicles how all five men failed first to understand and then to manage the inquisitorial environment.
"The mood was mean," Gerald Ford says. Woodward explains how Ford believed he had been offered a deal to pardon Nixon, then clumsily rejected it and later withheld all the details from Congress and the public, leaving lasting suspicions that compromised his years in the White House.
Jimmy Carter used Watergate to win an election, and then watched in bewilderment as the rules of strict accountability engulfed his budget director, Bert Lance, and challenged his own credibility. From his public pronouncements to the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter never found the decisive, healing style of leadership the first elected post-Watergate president had promised.
Woodward also provides the first behind-the-scenes account of how President Reagan and a special team of more than 60 attorneys and archivists beat Iran-contra. They turned the Reagan White House and United States intelligence agencies upside down investigating the president with orders to disclose any incriminating information they found. A fresh portrait of an engaged Reagan emerges as he realizes his presidency is in peril and attempts to prove his innocence.
In Shadow, a bitter and disoriented President Bush routinely pours out his anger at the permanent scandal culture to his personal diary as a dozen investigations touch some of those closest to him. At one point, Bush pounds a plastic mallet on his Oval Office desk because of the continuing investigation of Iran-contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh. "Take that, Walsh!" he shouts. "I'd like to get rid of this guy." Woodward also reveals why Bush avoided telling one of the remaining secrets of the Gulf War.
The second half of Shadow focuses on President Clinton's scandals. Woodward shows how and why Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation became a state of permanent war with the Clintons. He reveals who Clinton really feared in the Paula Jones case, and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering and ruthless, cynical legal strategies to protect the Clintons. Shadow also describes how impeachment affected Clinton's war decisions and scarred his life, his marriage and his presidency. "How can I go on?" First Lady Hillary Clinton asked in 1996, when she was under scrutiny by Starr and the media, two years before the Lewinsky scandal broke. "How can I?"
Shadow is an authoritative, unsettling narrative of the modern, beleaguered presidency.

About The Author
Lisa Berg

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for forty-seven years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2003 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored eighteen books, all of which have been national nonfiction bestsellers. Twelve of those have been #1 national bestsellers. 

Product Details
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 1999)
  • Length: 608 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780684869223

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Raves and Reviews

Nicholas Lemann The New Yorker Woodward is still a reporting god....Shadow contains vivid details, might-have-beens, and events hitherto unknown.

Peter Rowe The San Diego Union-Tribune Shadow is a master class in political reporting...breathtaking, disturbing, and fun...If you eat up political gossip, this is a gallon of premium ice cream, a tub of hot fudge and a long spoon....Shadow is a damning indictment of government-by-special-prosecutor.

Ann McDaniel Newsweek Captivating....Woodward's revealing book provides the clearest picture to date of how close Clinton came to losing his job -- and his marriage -- and how isolated the president became as Monica [Lewinsky]'s story unfolded.

Jay Nordlinger National Review But the anecdotes...oh, the anecdotes! Shadow is swimming in them....Shadow is an engrossing work. And no one -- no one -- but Bob Woodward could have written it.

Mary McGrory The Washington Post Shadow is a meticulously documented chronicle of self-delusion and self-pity. It is like an illuminated manuscript expanding on an old adage, "Honesty is the best policy." It is also riveting reading.

Anthony Lewis The New York Times What drove Kenneth Starr?...As good an answer as any, I think, emerges from Bob Woodward's new book, Shadow.

Paula Dwyer Business Week Woodward is the Energizer Bunny of investigative journalists, still going strong 25 years after forcing Richard M. Nixon from office with revelations about Watergate....Presidential candidates should read this book -- and consider themselves warned.

Helen Thomas United Press International The chapters on the Clinton administration are poignant and painful for mistakes made and many regrets, for reputations lost and epic disillusionment after working at the White House.

Richard Benedetto USA Today Woodward does an excellent job of laying out how each president, starting with Gerald Ford and extending through Bill Clinton, failed to heed the lessons Nixon learned the hard way....This highly readable book tells a bleak cautionary tale of warning signs not heeded.

M. Charles Bakst The Providence Sunday Journal Investigative journalist Bob Woodward has a new book you should read. And I can think of a couple of guys who absolutely need to read it and take it to heart. They are Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, leading 2000 Republican and Democratic White House candidates.

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