Four decades ago, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States when audiotapes confirmed what many had long suspected: a crook was living in the White House.
Few publications covered Nixon’s dangerous career as diligently or as critically as The Nation. Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein have been justly acknowledged, but equally important was a national conversation about what Watergate said about American democracy. For that, The Nation was indispensable.
For the first time, that coverage has been collected in Smoking Gun, The Nation on Watergate, 1952 – 2010, with an introduction by former US Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee and voted to impeach.
As she argues in her introduction: “Neither Congress nor the courts have taken the Watergate example to heart and stood firmly against presidential crimes or serious misconduct.”
“Nixon’s successors have been expanding the powers of the presidency for four decades now," editor Richard Kreitner writes in the preface, “Smoking Gun is a thrilling history, but it is also a user’s manual for how a democratic society under threat can wake up and take those powers back.”
Ever since then, our writers have investigated, exposed and denounced gross violations of our most basic civil liberties.
Now these articles have been collected in Surveillance Nation, a fascinating and timeless alternative history on the rise of the surveillance state. As our legal affairs correspondent, David Cole, writes in his introduction: “Time and again, writers for The Nation identified threats to privacy and liberty long before they were acknowledged by the broader public and media.”
Contributors to this important collection include Victor Navasky, Diana Trilling, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Foner, Laura Flanders, Jonathan Schell, Naomi Klein, Christopher Hayes, Patricia Williams, Fred Cook, Frank Donner and Jaron Lanier.
Surveillance Nation is an intellectual and historical feast for anyone who wants to learn more about the kind of widespread abuses that Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013.