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Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate

Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On Sunday morning, June 18, 1972, only Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein showed up in the Washington Post newsroom to work on the strange story of the Watergate break-in. Neither one was particularly glad to see the other. Though they shared a fascination with the story, the only other thing they shared was a mutual distrust. But their synergistic partnership allowed them to do something neither could have done alone—and the results were historic.

After Watergate—the most important event for journalism, politics, and the presidency in the past one hundred years—Woodward and Bernstein became living legends throughout the world, leaving in their trail an indelible high-water mark that every American journalist has had to confront since. Their lives should have been golden from there—but how do you live the rest of your life knowing you've peaked by your thirtieth birthday?

Woodward and Bernstein told you what happened in All the President's Men; now, in Woodward and Bernstein, award-winning journalist Alicia Shepard tells you the rest of the story, including more about the recent dramatic revelation of Deep Throat's identity. Shepard takes a fresh, thought-provoking look at the duo known as "Woodstein." For the first time, Shepard separates myth from reality as she traces the life lessons of these iconic journalists before and after Watergate.

Even in their early days, their differences were clear: Woodward was straitlaced with a strong midwestern work ethic. Bernstein was a streetwise college dropout who worked his way up the newsroom ladder through raw talent. Bernstein was quick at seeing a story and knowing what it should be; Woodward made sure it got done and done well. Woodward was eager to please, inquisitive, and highly disciplined; Bernstein, while brilliant, was also irresponsible, with poor work habits that got him into trouble. He was on "probation" at the Washington Post when he was ordered to work through a weekend—his lucky break.

Shepard sorts through the lessons of their divergent paths, detailing how Bernstein's career stalled and fizzled while Woodward soldiered on to become the biggest brand in the newspaper business. Shepard's riveting tale is the sum of more than 175 interviews and never-before-seen archival materials, including the Watergate papers the pair sold to the University of Texas for $5 million. Woodward and Bernstein recalls the thriller-like pacing of All the President's Men while weaving together the long-awaited details the pair left out over thirty years ago.

Synopsis:

""A thorough, diligent book. Shepard has unearthed a range of interesting details.""

--""The Washington Post""

""Shepard is far more interested in what happened [after Watergate], and in examining the uneasy rewards of early success. . . . She seems to have interviewed almost everyone with a connection to her subjects.""

--""The New Yorker""

""If ""All the President's Men"" was the ultimate work of journalistic sleuthing, Shepard's Woodward and Bernstein should be placed right next to it on every bookshelf. It is likely to endure as the definitive account of the lives of two men who changed journalism forever.""

--Michael Isikoff, Investigative Correspondent, ""Newsweek""

""Alicia Shepard has long been one of the nation's most important writers on journalism. Now she turns her attention to two of history's most famous journalists. Her book is a winner--penetrating, fascinating, and remarkably balanced.""

--Gene Roberts, former managing editor, ""The New York Times""

After Watergate--the most important event for journalism, politics, and the presidency in the past one hundred years--""Washington Post"" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein became living legends throughout the world. Now award-winning journalist Alicia Shepard separates myth from reality as she traces the life lessons of these two iconic journalists who helped topple a president. Sorting through their early lives and divergent careers since Watergate, Shepard offers a riveting tale that draws on more than 175 interviews and never-before-seen archival materials, including the newly opened Watergate papers. ""Woodward and Bernstein"" recalls the thrillerlike pacing of ""All the President's Men"" while weaving together the long-awaited details the pair left out over thirty years ago.

Synopsis:

Based on new interviews and never-before-seen archival materials, ""Woodward and Bernstein"" takes a fresh, thought-provoking look at this unlikely journalistic duo. Thrown together by fate or luck, Woodward and Bernstein changed the face of journalism and the American presidency. For the first time, Shepard separates myth from reality as she traces the lives of the iconic journalists before and after Watergate.

About the Author

Alicia C. Shepard is a regular contributor to ""People"" and the ""Washingtonian."" She teaches journalism at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and has won three National Press Club awards for her media criticism in the ""American Journalism Review.""

Table of Contents

Preface.

1. The Up and Comers.

2. Trust.

3. The Best Obtainable Version of the Truth.

4. In Demand.

5. The Source to End All Sources.

6. The Double-Edged Sword.

7. When Are You Going to Screw Up?

8. Bernstein Unchaperoned.

9. Mr. Carte Blanche.

10. Loyalties.

11. Piercing the Veil.

12. The Revelation.

Acknowledgments.

Works Cited.

Index.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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rollyson2002, August 22, 2012 (view all comments by rollyson2002)
Two Metro reporters at the Washington Post, both in their late 20s ��" one a dogged investigator who writes badly, the other rather a flake who writes well ��" team up to take down a president of America. The plot for a bad movie? No, actually the scenario for a rather good one, "All the President's Men," and, improbably, a true story ��" although to give the whole credit for Watergate to Messrs. Woodward and Bernstein is (as Huck Finn would say) a stretcher.

Why were Messrs. Woodward and Bernstein so successful? They were ambitious, single, and single-minded. While many veteran journalists kept saying Richard Nixon would not be so stupid as to tie himself directly to the burglary at the Democratic party's Watergate Hotel headquarters, "Woodstein," as the duo was dubbed, simply kept asking questions and going after sources.

But this is not the whole story. As Alicia C. Shepard recounts in her absorbing biography, "Woodward and Bernstein," Carl Bernstein had grown up in Washington, D.C., and worked in newsrooms since the age of 16. He had a nose for news. Bob Woodward, growing up as a conservative Midwesterner, seemed constitutionally curious about the secrets people and institutions zealously guarded. He believed in openness. He had no agenda; he simply wanted to know.

But this is not the whole story."Woodstein" needed and received the full backing of their newspaper. Even when other major papers like the New York Times did not accord Watergate much space, the young reporters got the go-ahead from their immediate supervisors as well as from the newspaper's executive editor, Ben Bradlee, and its owner at the time, Katharine Graham. Graham risked Nixon's wrath ��" there was talk in the White House about revoking the Post's television licenses ��" and the contempt of other newspaper owners who doubted her judgment in allowing Mr. Bradlee to back Woodstein.

But this is not the whole story. Ms. Shepard believes the primary reason for Woodstein's success was their status as outsiders. They were beholden to no one. They had no reputations to lose, really, and they could not be co-opted by politicians. They bonded together as outsiders ��" a development Ms. Shepard acknowledges but does not fully explore.

"There are special things only the two of us understand, from the work we did together to the way each of us looks at journalism," Mr. Bernstein told Ms. Shepard. Boy, did that ring a bell for me. Having written several unauthorized biographies, I know that the reporter often becomes the target, not just the subject of the investigation. Family members, friends, and the press (reviewers) all pile on to question the motives of a journalist like Bob Woodward, who simply wants to know. When Mr. Woodward published his biography of John Belushi, Bill Murray, Belushi's "Saturday Night Live" colleague, said publicly that Mr. Woodward deserved to be put to death.

But this is not the whole story. Mr. Woodward developed a crucial source that became the celebrated "Deep Throat." Neither Messrs. Woodward nor Bernstein ever claimed that Deep Throat had the key to Watergate. Instead, he served as a sounding board for Mr. Woodward, pointing the reporter in the right direction by asking provocative questions. Mr. Woodward never voluntarily disclosed the identity of his source, and then did so only reluctantly after Mark Felt's family decided that what they deemed his heroic role should be acknowledged before he died. Why Mr. Woodward balked at full disclosure is a story in itself.

Mr. Woodward had always said he would not unveil Deep Throat's identity until the source died. Felt no longer was mentally competent at the time his family through its lawyer divulged Felt's role in history, but Mr. Woodward still felt bound by his promise. Only when his own newspaper pointed out that it had to cover this news story did Mr. Woodward confirm the family's account and then publish his own version of his relationship with Felt.

Mr. Woodward's use of anonymous sources has been his bête noir. His fellow journalists have repeatedly questioned his ethics and his veracity. How are they to believe what he has reported about the inside deliberations of the Supreme Court, the CIA, or the Bush and Clinton White Houses, when they cannot check his evidence? Especially troubling to his critics has been his use of omniscient narration. How can he know what his subjects are thinking?

Much of this criticism, in my view, is misguided. Omniscience, in Mr. Woodward's books, is a literary technique, not a claim to an all-knowing, definitive account of history. Here is what happens: A source, X,says "I felt like resigning when I discovered that Nixon had done such and such."To Mr. Woodward it becomes, "X felt." The drama and immediacy are enhanced. He has not made anything up.

Of course, there is a downside to using anonymous sources, since who said what can be as important as what was said. But Mr. Woodward has never offered his model of investigative journalism as one the whole profession should emulate. Mr. Woodward has yet to be caught out in a significant error. More importantly, though, there is nothing stopping other reporters from doing their own work to corroborate or refute Mr. Woodward.

Mr. Woodward has been so much more productive than Mr. Bernstein that it seems inevitable that his work should dominate a dual biography. It is to Ms. Shepard's credit, however, that interest in Mr. Bernstein never flags. She treats his marital and professional failures sympathetically without excusing his bad behavior or injudicious career moves. His move to ABC television was a disaster, and the few books Mr. Bernstein has written have received mixed reviews and made little impact. Certainly, he has suffered far more than Mr. Woodward from the "shadow of Watergate." Nevertheless, Mr. Bernstein remains an appealing figure, owing to his lack of self-pity and his enduring relationship with Mr. Woodward, despite the ups and downs of their friendship.

Ms. Shepard has benefited from the huge archive Woodstein sold to the University of Texas. Both men were available for interviews, and she diligently canvassed opinions from friends, former friends, and associates. The result is a richly detailed book that does justice to both history and biography ��" an impressive achievement in a well-wrought narrative of fewer than 300 pages.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780470168813
Subtitle:
Life in the Shadow of Watergate
Publisher:
Wiley
Author:
Shepard, Alicia C.
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Watergate affair, 1972-1974
Subject:
Journalists -- United States.
Subject:
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974 - Press coverage
Subject:
US Biography
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Print PDF
Publication Date:
20071026
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.21 x 6.14 in

Related Subjects

Biography » General

Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages John Wiley & Sons - English 9780470168813 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
""A thorough, diligent book. Shepard has unearthed a range of interesting details.""

--""The Washington Post""

""Shepard is far more interested in what happened [after Watergate], and in examining the uneasy rewards of early success. . . . She seems to have interviewed almost everyone with a connection to her subjects.""

--""The New Yorker""

""If ""All the President's Men"" was the ultimate work of journalistic sleuthing, Shepard's Woodward and Bernstein should be placed right next to it on every bookshelf. It is likely to endure as the definitive account of the lives of two men who changed journalism forever.""

--Michael Isikoff, Investigative Correspondent, ""Newsweek""

""Alicia Shepard has long been one of the nation's most important writers on journalism. Now she turns her attention to two of history's most famous journalists. Her book is a winner--penetrating, fascinating, and remarkably balanced.""

--Gene Roberts, former managing editor, ""The New York Times""

After Watergate--the most important event for journalism, politics, and the presidency in the past one hundred years--""Washington Post"" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein became living legends throughout the world. Now award-winning journalist Alicia Shepard separates myth from reality as she traces the life lessons of these two iconic journalists who helped topple a president. Sorting through their early lives and divergent careers since Watergate, Shepard offers a riveting tale that draws on more than 175 interviews and never-before-seen archival materials, including the newly opened Watergate papers. ""Woodward and Bernstein"" recalls the thrillerlike pacing of ""All the President's Men"" while weaving together the long-awaited details the pair left out over thirty years ago.

"Synopsis" by ,
Based on new interviews and never-before-seen archival materials, ""Woodward and Bernstein"" takes a fresh, thought-provoking look at this unlikely journalistic duo. Thrown together by fate or luck, Woodward and Bernstein changed the face of journalism and the American presidency. For the first time, Shepard separates myth from reality as she traces the lives of the iconic journalists before and after Watergate.
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