All The Presidents Men (The Most Devastating Detective Story of this Century)

by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Paperback, 1976

Call number

327 BER



Warner Books (1976), 368 pages


THIS IS THE BOOK THATCHANGED AMERICABeginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing with headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward kept the tale of conspiracy and the trail of dirty tricks coming -- delivering the stunning revelations and pieces in the Watergate puzzle that brought about Nixon's scandalous downfall. Their explosive reports won a Pulitzer Prize forThe Washington Postand toppled the President.THESE ARE THE AUTHORS WHO INTRODUCED US TO THE WORDS "DEEP THROAT."

Media reviews

It is a work barren of ideas, of imagination, and of a sense of either the tragic or the comic aspects of the subject, and one that would be essentially boring if it were not for the historical importance of the events dealt with. The reportorial techniques employed by Bernstein and Woodward differ hardly at all from those that might be used by a pair of reporters examining the misdeeds of small-town grafters, and while this is not in itself a failing—small fish and large ones are caught by the same means—the lack of a sense of history diminishes the magnitude of the story. But this account will be indispensable to those who for one reason or another have not kept up with the running accounts of events and to those who will someday place it in its proper historical setting.
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The suspense in “All the President's Men” is more pervasive and finally more terrifying than a suspense story which holds its readers shivering in the darkness of graveyards and gothic castles because the setting is sunny Washington, D.C., a familiar place suddenly made unfamiliar by the presence of overwhelming fear. Disaffected C.R.P.. employes trembling in their doorways, wanting to be helpful but afraid of the consequences, plead with the sleuths never to call again. “Nobody knows what they'll do,” one employe said. “They are desperate.” Who are they?...

User reviews

LibraryThing member regularguy5mb
For some time now, I've been wondering when exactly we became distrustful of our government, when they became distrustful. And buddy, this is it.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein present the pivotal moment when our President, the leader of the free world, became a shifty, scheming thug instead of a statesman with his country's best interest at heart.

Told from the perspective of the writers in a third person way, the events that kick off with the Watergate break-in and end with the Executive Branch of the United States government in shambles becomes a thrilling and potent detective story. These two put themselves on the line by searching out the truth, no matter how much the President's men tried to make them look foolish and like full-blown McGovern puppets solely trying to make the President look bad because he was a Republican. There were threats, secrets, cover-ups, and more than a few tricks.

This book. This is the one. If you want some solid reporting about political intrigue, read this book.
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LibraryThing member Smiley
The original investigative report that brought a president down. Bush makes Nixon look like a third rate burglar. Thrilling nonfiction read.
LibraryThing member Denverbook
Along with "The Final Days", THE defining book of the tradegy of American History called Watergate. It uncovered the shallow dark side of the most devious president the U.S ever had.
LibraryThing member ennie
I saw and enjoyed the movie, but had never read the book.

It was slow going, reading about painstaking shoe-leather reporting of this now-historic time. I wonder if ferreting out the story would have been easier in the Internet age. Maybe not, since the players would not have broadcast their activities on the Web.

I lived through the Watergate era. My mother yelled "Bitch! Bastard! Schmuck!" every night at the TV at the sight of Nixon's face. I was busy being a student and didn't pay close attention to what was going on.

I don't know if I'm jaded by subsequent events or just clueless, but what these guys did doesn't seem all that bad. Political espionage, dirty tricks, secret taping, and then covering it up? Don't all politicians do that?

What went on does seem worse than lying about sex with an intern.
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LibraryThing member 5hrdrive
The Watergate break-in occurred forty years ago this week... I remember the break-in, trial, Senate hearings, and Nixon's resignation like they were yesterday. Sadly, I haven't trusted the executive branch much since. This first-hand account of the groundbreaking Washington Post investigation is a must read if you wish to understand the American political climate since the 1970's.… (more)
LibraryThing member tymfos
I was an early teenager during the Watergate scandal, and avidly followed the Senate Select Commitee hearings on Watergate, watching all the coverage I possibly could on TV. Therefore, this book was of great interest to me, and I found it totally absorbing. Someday, I'd like to read it again and see if it has the same impact.
LibraryThing member Katya0133
Aside from a few cultural references that I had to look up, this book holds up remarkably well. Readers who are familiar with Watergate will probably do a better job of keeping track of everyone, but there is a list of principal players at the beginning of the book for the rest of us. I only wish this book wasn't so relevant today.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jaquesdemolay
This is an excellent account of the Nixon years. It is very well-written and reveals how two dedicated people made a difference in American history. Do we still make journalists like these? I would like to think so.
LibraryThing member brianinbuffalo
Few books shaped my interest in journalism as much as Woodward and Bernstein's classic work. I first read it as a teen-ager, in an era when post-Watergate developments were still nudging their way into headlines. When I read the book decades later, I realized that this was timeless story about how tenacious reporting can change the course of history.… (more)
LibraryThing member Angelic55blonde
This is an amazing book. It is about the Watergate scandal and the two reporters who had to wade through it all to get to the truth, which brought down a President. It's amazing and the movie is just as good.
LibraryThing member figre
It is somewhat amazing to me that I have not read this book before. I’ve read The Brethren at least three times, as well as Final Days. I’ve seen the movie numerous times and always been enraptured by it. But I only recently purchased the book. Maybe it comes from my Republican upbringing – the one that only in the last ten years allowed me to finally recognize that Nixon was a crook. Or maybe it was that overpowering desire I have had in that same ten years to try and be the hippie revolutionary I didn’t allow myself to be (don’t worry – it isn’t working). Ultimately, it’s a matter of really wanting to read it – and just finally getting to it.

And, reading this book will remind you (or, if you are young enough, will let you know for the first time) how pivotal Watergate was to history and the presidency. No one really suspected how far it went. Yet it all came out. This is not as engrossing as good fiction. Nor should it be. If it were, it would be unbelievable. Instead, the straightforward approach, the avoidance of hyperbole, allows the reader to recognize that this is the real world, and this was a real event. And it is done in a balanced way – one that shows the role of each reporter, and the role of other journalists. The handling of this reporting helps you understand why, even today, Woodward gets information that no one else does.

Beyond the history, there are a lot of lessons to be learned. First, this is the foundation for someone’s book on leadership. For all his faults, it is evident here that Nixon was great leader (as in, one who was great a leading, not as in one who was great in the way they led.) It is evident that people went beyond where they might, just because of him. Second, this should be required reading for anyone who does fraud investigation (not just investigative journalism.) This provides perfect examples of the investigation approaches – planning the interviews, not ignoring the little things, never go beyond what you know is right (which Woodward and Bernstein did – and paid a price).

And, for a better experience, read this with some of the other volumes that came out at that time – for example, The Brethren by Woodward (about the Supreme Court when all this was going on), Final Days by Woodward and Bernstein, and Breach of Faith by T H White.
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LibraryThing member Morena
I read my mom's old copy at eleven, and fell completely in love with it. One of my all-time favorite stories. That it actually happened only made it better.
LibraryThing member freddiefreddie
This is an excellent account of journalists Woodward and Bernstein and their near-futile attempt to expose the scandal of the Watergate break-in and its cover-up. A little winding, but illuminating nonetheless.
LibraryThing member AZ_Dude
Novel of how Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post pushed the investigation of the Watergate breakin to find answers and ultimately resulting in President Richard Nixon resigning as President of the United States.
LibraryThing member readingfiend
A fascinating look at what led up to Nixon's resignation. I was in my early teens when this all took place and so it really helped me to understand what went on.
LibraryThing member jrcchicago
Gripping more than 30 years later, and as relevant as ever.
LibraryThing member thorswitch
Probably one of the best investigative books I've ever read. This book really pulls back the curtains and shows us the ugly side of politics. This book is clear, well-sourced and entertaining to read - and it shows how a presidential administration that considers itself above the law can result in massive abuses of power - not to mention engaging in clearly unconstitutional activities. It also shows just how much the news media has changed over the last 30 years or so, and sadly, not for the better.… (more)
LibraryThing member bdopkins
Is it an indictment of the public school system, or my lack of attention in history class that exactly Watergate was all about has never been quite clear to me? I never even remember it being in the curriculum. This book corrected that oversight in a way that was clear and fascinating. I thank you, Mr. Woodward.
LibraryThing member mrminjares
This is a truly shocking and rapidly moving narrative of the actions that President Nixon and his Republican supporters in the White House and in the Republican Party took to gain advantage in elections. What begins as an innocuous burglary in the Watergate Hotel turns into an unraveling tale of money laundering, illegal wiretapping, political sabotage, and deceipt. It is truly amazing to read the lengths to which political parties only three decades ago went to gain an upper hand. Nixon was a no-holds-barred type who had tremendous ambition, but unfortunately he was caught and ultimately tainted American politicals with what remains a fundamental distrust with our elected officials. The reporting by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward was amazing, especially considering they were only 28 and 29 years old at the time. And the were successfully in large part because Ben Bradlee and others at the Washington Post were willing to stand up to federal officials and support this work. I strongly recommend this book. It makes me want to learn more about Ben Bradlee, Katherine Graham, Deep Throat, and the others who had a role to play in this story.… (more)
LibraryThing member dr_zirk
Still a classic read after more than thirty years, All the President's Men succeeds so wonderfully because it is not afraid to dwell on the small details that make a journalistic investigation successful. As a dramatic story, the book itself is nowhere near as enthralling as the movie that it spawned. And yet the book is every bit as essential as the film, since the full scope of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate investigation is revealed as the slow, deliberate, and nerve-wracking process that it really was. This is a story of perseverance and determination in pursuit of the truth, and from that angle alone this book constitutes essential reading for any thinking American.… (more)
LibraryThing member libraryhermit
I bought this paperback book during the 1970s as a teenager. I can't remember if I read the whole thing at that time, but I have recently retrieved it from my collection and read the whole thing. I have never seen the movie. (At the moment I am reading The Final Days, the book by the same authors that continues on with the story.)
Like some of the other reviews on this site that I have read for this book, I agree that as a source for the intrepid investigation activities of the young reporters, this is a valuable primary source. At the same time, it makes me want to read accounts of the same events by other authors. The authors here were so bold and narrow in their focus, that I don't think there was any time or inclination to talk about other interesting topics like their educational background and the style of their everyday work at the newspaper.

Of course, I realize that all of this can be found in other books. I know that Bob Woodward has continued to write since the time of this book. Probably Carl Bernstein too. So I'll finish The Final Days, and then bridge into whatever books from one or both of these two seem logical for the next selection.
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LibraryThing member heidilove
This tale of two young journalists making their way through the maze of the Washington Post political beat is as gripping a tale as it is an expose on the political corruption they discovered. Well-written, it joins the likes of In Cold Blood.
LibraryThing member Oreillynsf
I was very young when Watergate transpired, and am so pleased that the writers that brought him down were able to tell their story with so much detail. Sadly, I am not sure reporters can investigate like this anymore. Be aware, this is not the story of Nixon, it's the story of the two WaPo reporters. But what a story. I think this book is pictured in the dictionary under "pageturner."… (more)
LibraryThing member Borg-mx5
An excellent, page turning account of the two reporters doggedly seeking to uncover the mystery of the Watergate break in.
LibraryThing member untraveller
Strange that I've not read the book til now and stranger even that as I read the book, very few people had heard of it. The book takes a journalistic approach (naturally) which can make for some choppy reading, but the subject is fascinating. I was in Europe living through these tales of woe as they happened. Goodness, how things have not changed!… (more)


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