The President’s Men Revisited


The entire Presidents’ Men became the most extensively read the book on the Watergate scandal immediately after it is a publication in 1974. Few years later an Oscar winning movie on the issue was released. The story of the two Washington post reporters bucking the system to bring down a corrupt president was permanently entrenched in the national pop consciousness. Notwithstanding these many critics of the book, including competitors of the two attacks the book on that it has been overly focused on the author’s contribution to ending Nixon’s presidency. The report aims at judging whether APM deserves it is the place in the pantheon of prominent political journalistic history.


APM narrates the story behind the Watergate scandal. The scandal started with a burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters. The two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein worked out with sources to uncover deceit at the top levels of government. Woodward was covering a story for his job at Washington post in 1972 after a burglary at the Watergate hotel. He discovered that it was not an ordinary burglary, and he was not the only one reporting on it. At the same time, Carl had the same mission. Initially the two were not working together but later they teamed up to be known as “woodstein” by their colleagues. They learned that there was more to the burglary and that Watergate was not an isolated case. Through their sources,  they learnt that there were events aimed at hurting democratic presidential nominees and guarantee Nixon re-election.  Some of these events include spying on one democratic representative allegedly for another; establishing a fund to pay anyone who helps in the cause, and sabotaging opposing nominees. Sources used are some of the members of Nixon’s party, FBI, senate committee members who were present during the Watergate trial and some of his friends who had inside information. Through the investigation, they learnt that Watergate incident and those tied to it ran deep than they thought. Some members of Nixon’s staff were terminated due to their articles and investigation. Finally, they realized that President Nixon was the main culprit and the house judiciary committee began to investigate him (woodward).

Watergate Vs All the President’s Men

Watergate, the Presidential Scandal that Shook America is a book written by Keith Olson while “the entire President’s Men” is by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which highlight the Watergate scandal.

APM treats Watergate scandal in four segments. The first part deals with the investigation by the Washington post, the action by the government, resignation of President Nixon and finally the role played by the secret source, deep throat. In the Washington investigation, most of the information is coming from sources. In it is’ the first revelation, James Mc Cord is revealed to be the burglar who is in the election committee of President Nixon. Later, they would report the  jury investigating the burglary in order to look for  testimony from the former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt and FBI officer G. Gordon Liddy. Both would be indicted in aiding the burglary. The attorney general John Mitchell controlled the fund that was used to spy on the democrats. On the summer of 1973, Watergate scandal had fully blown out nationally. It became the subject of two official public investigations; one led by Archibald Cox the individual prosecutor and the other by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina who chaired senate Watergate committee. In his state of the union address in 1974, President Nixon announced his knowledge of the scandal. Nixon established himself as the defender of the presidency, and that he made mistakes, but he never broke laws. On august the same year he announced his resignation, stating that by doing so, he started the process of healing. From this section, Watergate and it is interlinked scandals were over but their influence was not. They generated an enduring skepticism among the American people opinion (woodward and bernstein, The Watergate Story).

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On the other hand, Keith Olson wrote a book, which is more recent about the Watergate scandal. On the book, he evokes the attitudes and events that led to the burglary at Watergate. He critically analyses the revelation of the cover-ups from both the public and presidents’ view. He highlights how public and media doubts increasingly rose due to the suspicious actions and explanations of the president. For the first time, he documents the key roles played by the republicans in the revelations. There is also an outline of the public outcry even by some of the presidents’ supporters yearning for his removal. The last chapter of his book, he explores the cold war context that convinces the president that, in pursuit of national security,  he can overlook the constitution. He narrates how the white house approved break in the democratic national headquarters in Washington, Watergate complex. He then highlights the follow ups and more importantly the dramatic senate Watergate committee hearings led by Senator Ervin. He highlights an entertaining cast of characters who includes; former CIA operative E. Hunt, Woodward and Bernstein termed as hungry muckrakers, Judge John J. silica, Nixon’s’ staff Charles Colson, John Ehrlichman  and H. R Haldeman.

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APM audience

This book was intended for the public, which are persons who have the ability to make decisions on whom to be their president. It was made when many people cared to know whether their president is moral or not. The scandal shocked the nation because it exposed the president as weak and covered his sins. The reader should not believe that Woodward,  as well as  Bernstein, were solely accountable   for Nixon’s’ fall. This is because the two failed to understand the role of investigators and institutions who supplied them with the leaks. They did not highlight the complex bureaucracy and politics in the government in their writing. Therefore, the two did not expose the scandal, but government agencies did it. They should not have looked away from the internal conflicts and working of government institutions. The book sold a lot of copies due to the curiosity of the public. Having been released shortly after the scandal a lot of people wanted to get intricate details on what happened. This was accelerated by the resignation of the president and the two journalists claiming they were behind the downfall of the president. This is opposed to Olson’s’ book, which was released almost thirty years after the scandal (woodward, All the President's Men Study Guide & Plot Summary).

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A film of the book was released. However, the film covers only the first seven months of the scandal. That is from the time of the break in to Nixon’s’ inauguration. The film provides a marvellous insight on the scandal as real people are given the character roles of the original perpetrators of the scandal. In this book, the tendency of journalists to magnify scandals is highlighted. The book uses mythic behind the scenes stories. The book does not describe the actual investigations that led to the exposure of the Watergate scandal. These include the; investigation by FBI, the federal prosecutors role, the grand jury and the congressional committees. They have ignored or barely recognized the roles played by these institutions.  However, they have focused on those parts that were leaked to them from these institutions. Contrary to this, Keith’s book acknowledges the roles played by these institutions in the revelation of the scandal. His book introduces the missing link on the investigation. This is done through the introduction of the government   investigation (Epstein).

Keith Olson book gives a nonprofessional guide towards the understanding of the scandal. The book offers a concise and clear history of the whole scandal. This book is well designed for the new readers who have no clear knowledge of the Watergate scandal. It is also good for teachers who are looking for a straightforward summary for classroom purposes. This book appeals to a wide readership.

All the presidents’ men book should not be used as a book for class reading dealing with scandals and conspiracies. This is because the two journalists who claim to have exposed the whole scandal take the whole credit on the exposed. This is despite the fact that, some of the information they have used was got from government institutions (olson).


The book by Keith Olson provides the better media for learning in a class. This is opposed to Woodward and Bernstein book their book does not explore the historic significance. However, seeks to portray them as heroes who exposed the scandal.

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