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A dual biography of the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story reveals how they reached the top of their profession and then suffered the perils of fame and fortune
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It's a rule of thumb that journalists tend to run for cover when under scrutiny--and the high-profile media icons who won The Washington Post a Pulitzer for their Watergate reporting are apparently no exceptions to the rule. Indeed, both Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein refused to assist Havill (The Last Mogul, 1992) in his inquiries for the exhaustively researched, if gossipy, profiles at hand. Havill has amassed a wealth of dirt-dishing detail that allows him to put an essentially unfavorable spin on his subjects' personal and professional lives. Having traced the diverse paths by which they reached the nation's capital, he chips away at the collaboration that helped drive Richard Nixon from the White House and make the pair rich and world-famous. Among other matters, Havill concludes that Deep Throat was a composite, and that Woodward and Bernstein didn't let inconvenient facts stand in the way of good stories in either All the President's Men or its sequel, The Final Days. In some cases, Havill's charges seem trivial--e.g., that all but one of the workaholic Woodward's books have grown from someone else's ideas. On balance, though, the author raises persuasive doubts about the literary license taken by both Woodward and Bernstein in such texts as Wired, Veil, and Loyalties. Nor, apparently, are the aging Wunderkinder particularly admirable in other pursuits. Pilloried in ex-wife Nora Ephron's Heartburn, Bernstein is portrayed as satisfying his love of wine, women, and song only at the cost of his considerable writing talent. By contrast, the ambitious, thrice-wed Woodward (who was taken in by Janet Cooke and her fabricated tale of a preteen heroin addict) emerges as a steel-willed control freak more proficient at currying favor than cultivating adult relationships. An intriguing take on fourth-estate paragons who appear better able to cast stones than to fend them off. (Photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Though hardly comprehensive, this dual biography of the famed Watergate case journalists directs potent accusations at their work. Havill ( The Last Mogul: The Unauthorized Biography of Jack Kent Cooke ) got little cooperation from friends of his subjects, yet he has cobbled together credible sketches of the Calvinistic Bob Woodward and the free-wheeling Carl Bernstein. He suggests that Woodward's unusual access to government secrets has roots in contacts from Yale and his work at the Pentagon, speculating that Woodward also had links to the CIA. Attempting to reenact a crucial ritual from All the President's Men , a narrative he considers embellished, Havill declares that Woodward could not signal "Deep Throat" by pulling a flowerpot to the rear of his apartment balcony because the balcony overlooked a courtyard that was virtually inaccessible to a lurker. And such a person most likely would be detected since 80 apartments overlooked the courtyard. He tags The Brethren , the Supreme Court expose by Woodward and Scott Armstrong, as a vendetta by their source, Justice Potter Stewart, against Chief Justice Warren Burger, and argues that in Veil Woodward fabricated his account of his deathbed interview with CIA chief William Casey. Bernstein's disjointed memoir Loyalties , the author suggests, has not redeemed his checkered career. Havill's charges merit response from Woodward and Bernstein. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Birch Lane Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1559721723