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Watergate : a novel
Thomas Mallon
Adult Fiction MALLON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Mallon's historical novels have been moving steadily closer to the present, from the Lincoln era through the Gilded and Jazz ages to the 1940s and, with Fellow Travelers, his last book, the McCarthy era. Here he takes on the '70s, which, depending on the reader, will seem either ancient or way too recent to be history. As Mallon moves from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee offices to Nixon's resignation, shifting viewpoints as he goes, he provides a lot of exposition. Some of it, implausibly, occurs in dialogue and internal monologues, as people go over what they know for the sake of readers who no longer do or never did. It's hard going at first, but the reward is getting to enter the heads of Watergate participants who were off to the side or never wrote memoirs: Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods, progenitor of the famed 18-minute tape gap; stoic Pat Nixon; meddling Alice Roosevelt Longworth, famously tart-tongued and responsible here for some very funny moments; and Mississippian Fred LaRue, aka the "Bagman." Mallon makes these people sympathetic, no small feat; readers may be surprised at how much they end up disliking Elliot Richardson, one of the era's few heroes. If the author can't bring the story to a satisfying close or explain why so many were so loyal to the president they call "the Old Man," well, history is often messier than fiction. Agent: The Wylie Agency (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

If ever a historical event was worthy of a comic novel, it's Watergate, and Mallon, with several outstanding historical novels to his credit (most recently, Fellow Travelers), has the skills to write it. What a cast of characters we meet! Ex-spy G. Gordon Liddy is nearly certifiable; his colleague H. Howard Hunt's hold on reality seems equally tenuous at times. Around them floats a cast of clowns and self-serving creeps who make the familiar story a veritable opera buffa. At the top, clinging desperately to his fading political success, is Nixon, a complicated man who can't understand why people don't trust him. Events unfold through the perspectives of six characters: Republican Party fixer Fred LaRue; ex-spook Hunt; 90-year-old society madam Alice Roosevelt Longworth; Nixon's doggedly loyal secretary, Rose Woods; Nixon himself; and his wife, Pat, who comes across as far from the plastic Barbie Doll she's usually portrayed to be. There are no surprise revelations here, but Mallon writes with such swagger that it all seems new again. VERDICT A sure winner, for its subject and Mallon's proven track record as a historical novelist, and because it's good. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]-David Keymer, Modesto CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Fred LaRue
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From Mississippi; aid to the Attorney General who became ensnared in the cover-up of the burglary at Watergate.
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