The Last of the President’s Men is a nonfiction work about Alexander Butterfield, an aide in the White House during President Richard Nixon’s first administration, written by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Bob Woodward. This is the fifth book Woodward has written about the Watergate scandal.
In 1968, Colonel Alexander Butterfield was an officer in the US Air Force stationed in Australia. Previously he served in Vietnam where he flew 98 combat reconnaissance missions, and before that he served as a liaison to the Johnson Administration for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Butterfield was a highly respected officer, on track to becoming a four-star general and possibly more. However, in order to advance, he was convinced he needed to be closer to the most important military action of the day, Vietnam, not stuck in Australia. The desire to move on from his current post motivated him to reach out to an old college pal, Harry Robbins “Bob” Haldeman, who was set to be chief of staff for the newly elected Nixon...
PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.
Inside this Instaread Summary & Analysis of The Last of the President’s Men
• Summary of book
• Introduction to the Important People in the book
• Analysis of the Themes and Author’s Style
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.”
This is Frost's absorbing story of his pursuit of Richard Nixon, and is no less revealing of his own toughness and pertinacity than of the ex-President's elusiveness. Frost's encounters with such figures as Swifty Lazar, Ron Ziegler, potential sponsors, and Nixon as negotiator are nothing short of hilarious, and his insight into the taping of the programs themselves is fascinating.
Frost/Nixon provides the authoritative account of the only public trial that Nixon would ever have, and a revelation of the man's character as it appeared in the stress of eleven grueling sessions before the cameras. Including historical perspective and transcripts of the edited interviews, this is the story of Sir David Frost's quest to produce one of the most dramatic pieces of television ever broadcast, described by commentators at the time as “a catharsis” for the American people.
The book begins with essays that describe the political reactions to Watergate and Nixon's attempt to remove the first special prosecutor on the case. In the discussion section that follows, new insight into what the break-in was supposed to accomplish is provided by Reverend Jeb Stuart Magruder, speaking for the first time in a public forum. Subsequent papers discuss the different efforts by the Nixon Administration to uncover information about political opponents, the politicization of the Justice Department, the constitutional confrontation in the Supreme Court over the Nixon tapes, and the Pentagon Papers case. Discussants include Charles Colson, who was in the White House at the time, Tom Brokaw of NBC, and Ron Ziegler and Gerald Warren of the White House press office. Finally, the impeachment proceedings are reexamined in chapters that explore the specific charges against the president and the political coalitions that formed in Congress around them. Ideal as supplemental reading for courses on the presidency and modern American politics, Watergate and Afterward is an important contribution to our understanding of this critical period in postwar history.