Dramatization of Real Life Events: Watergate A Novel

The Watergate scandal is typically not what I think of when I think of juicy historical instances. It is surely dramatic in its nature, but has always paled in comparison to historical love affairs, sex scandals, and various other controversial acts. It is no doubt important in America history, but is often kind of muddled in with lesser events especially in the public’s eyes. When Presidential scandals are brought up the first two most people likely think of is JFK’s numerous affairs (including Russian spies and Marilyn Monroe) and Bill Clinton’s famous rendezvous with Monica Lewinsky. Watergate just seems to be not as exciting to the average person. Obviously, it’s not an obscure event, most people know it occurred, but overall it just isn’t talked about as often or with the same passion that smaller scale political messes are talked about. This is why I believe it be a genius move on Thomas Mallon’s part to choose it as a subject for a historical novel. It’s a story that people are vaguely familiar with but on average do not know many details about, and the specifics they do know tend to be what came out at the end (Nixon’s involvement, Deepthroat being Mark Felt, etc.) There is the perfect opportunity to make it into a dramatic and scandalous story of political paranoia and confusion.

I loved the novel as someone who was not alive for the actually unfolding of the events. I knew the outcome of the Watergate scandal before I even knew anything about the original Watergate break-in, and have explored the subject in a backwards manner. The novel does a fantastic job of revealing the story to both people who cannot recall the events happening in real time and those who can. It appeared to me almost at times like a mystery novel, and I enjoyed it thoroughly despite it being spoiled for me (although one can’t exactly spoil a story based off of real life events)

The novel puts Watergate in a new light, making it significantly more exciting and dramatic than the event is usually represented as being to those who did not live through it. I think it being slightly fictitious with added characters and events helps advance the story and literary elements of the novel, and overall presents the Watergate to those who don’t know in the way it was presented to those who kept up with the story when it was originally unfolding.

4 thoughts on “Dramatization of Real Life Events: Watergate A Novel

  1. I agree that the general public is probably more familiar with other U.S scandals than Watergate but I don’t believe it is because it is an uninteresting event relative to other, comparable issues surrounding the presidency. I believe that people tend to get bored with details, and there were a vast number of important details that culminated in to Nixon’s resignation.

  2. I agree that Watergate was a really interesting event for Mallon to choose to write a historic story of. In addition I like your comments on how many people in America no of the scandal and the events that surrounded it without knowing the intricate details that really clarify the end result. I think in writing this book in the way that Mallon did, he successfully presented all sides and showed the corruption that was involved.

  3. I agree that Mallon does a great job in this novel of making the Watergate scandal exciting and dramatic. However, I think that the Watergate scandal in real life was actually just as crazy and exciting as he makes it seem. Richard Nixon lied to the American public numerous times and foolishly tried to cover up his trail by abusing his presidential power, even resorting to unconstitutional actions.

  4. I agree with you on how you say the novel was good for someone who wasn’t alive during the actual events. The novels uses these characters to put things in perspective for the younger readers.

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