Watergate: A Novel

In Watergate: A Novel, Thomas Mallon captures the weirdness and complexity of the Watergate mystery. When reading the novel, I found it interesting how there was really no head of the operation. No one seemed to have a specific name as to who was behind the order of the break-in. Mallon does a great job showing how although many were involved, it was a complex web of connections amongst the key players that had no one as the main culprit. I believe this complexity and mystery is shown right of the bat with The Players section in which Mallon lists and describes all the characters of the novel. This seemed to me as sort-of an overkill seeing that some characters were lost in the complexity of the story, but hinted that that is the way many people saw this situation. Relating it to the video from Wednesday’s class, it seemed that this event in American history reflects the way in which American politics may have been over-documented in the 70’s. I personally do not think the truth mattered in this scenario, I truly believe that just relating the government/president with such a scandal is fair to question the government/president and maybe call for impeachment.

Throughout the novel, Mallon portrayed Nixon as a paranoid president that feared for his future. Throughout the novel Mallon described instances where Nixon was concerned with how his legacy was being affected with the Watergate Scandal. Even his dreams seemed to hint of a possible downfall as described in the following quote: “But something in the dream was wrong; he was winning too much; he had too many chips in front of him. He didn’t know how he’d gotten them, but he knew he had to get rid of them fast.” (Mallon 19). One can understand Nixon for wanting to leave a legacy worth talking about. But it is ironic how ultimately, something that seemed to be so small and controlled blew up way out of proportion into this confusing and complex mystery. Instead of Nixon being remembered as he wanted to, he will always be seen as a political disgrace and by his famous quote: “I’m not a crook.”

3 thoughts on “Watergate: A Novel”

  1. I think the point you raise is interesting. No one seems to be ultimately behind watergate in this novel. The video that we watched seem to suggest that it was something cooked up by CREEP but you are right to suggest that the confusion as to who exactly was behind it made it all the more destructive. It is perhaps also an indictment of the political tactics people were willing to stoop to at the time. Why did the CREEP feel justified in coming up with a patently illegal plot to steal information from their opponents?

  2. I think that Mallon listed all of The Players at the start of the novel to show the vastness of the Watergate scandal. It wasn’t just Nixon that was effected, although history will treat it synonymously with his name. It’s interesting that Mallon chooses to do this long list of names and titles before a book that it intending to show the persona behind all of these titles. Maybe because all of them end up getting a little lost in the scandal except, that is, for Nixon.

  3. Watergate was a big deal and many people got involved in it. The scandal grew from a small robbery with no significance to national scandal that involved the most powerful man in the nation. If Nixon had just destroyed the tapes of his conversations he maybe he wouldn’t have had a problem. But he would have still been thought of as guilty if he did, they just wouldn’t have been able convict him.

Comments are closed.