An intimate but disturbing portrayal of Nixon in the Oval Office. In forty-six hours of interviews with Butterfield, supported by thousands of documents, many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries, Woodward has uncovered new dimensions of Nixon's secrets, obsessions and deceptions
Bob Woodward is of course most famous for co-authoring (along with Carl Bernstein) the seminal work “All the President’s Men” way back on 1974, and has written many more on US politics. In this book he revisits Watergate, unearthing the little known character of Alexander Butterfield, a man who perhaps can be accredited with the eventual fall of Richard Nixon. Butterfield was the Nixon aide who was responsible for the installation of the infamous Whitehouse taping system which ultimately brought him down, as the existence of the taping system provided proof of Nixon’s criminal acts.
Butterfield’s somewhat ambiguous relationship with Nixon is fascinating to read about: he acknowledges Nixon as devious, cruel and secretive, yet also recognizes his political brilliance and foreign policy triumphs. Perhaps the central point which shone through for me was the recognition that this was another era, one in which the President was never questioned, his every wish obeyed despite his staff’s awareness that his commands were illegal. I like to think that that is no longer the situation today ... Surely?