Library Journal Review
Brokaw (A Life Interrupted) became NBC News White House Correspondent in 1973, as the Watergate affair captivated the nation. From his ringside seat, Brokaw documents President Richard Nixon's inevitable fall, despite unprecedented diplomatic breakthroughs with China and the USSR. Stories of Nixon's insecurities that led him to approve the break-in of Democratic Party headquarters, and comparisons between Presidents Nixon and Trump in claiming executive privilege and blaming the media, provide much to ponder. As the Nixon presidency descends to its ultimate collapse in 1974, Brokaw portrays Nixon as a self-deluded, broken man who would not acknowledge guilt, even when the Supreme Court ruled that he must turn over all papers and tapes. Humorous anecdotes about traveling with the president and life among Washington's political elite lighten the mood. The author reveals that Nixon wanted him to serve as press secretary, a position Brokaw turned down because he disliked party politics. VERDICT This fast-paced account nicely captures the spirit of the times and will appeal to political junkies and scholars. See Patrick Buchanan's Nixon's White House Wars and Keith Olson's updated Watergate for in-depth investigations.--Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Publishers Weekly Review
Former White House correspondent Brokaw (A Lucky Life Interrupted) presents a brisk account of his "reporter's experience of Watergate, the final act," in this affable memoir. Brokaw joined the White House press corps in the summer of 1973 after serving as nightly news anchor for L.A.'s KNBC. Some of his new colleagues wrote to the president of NBC News that Brokaw wasn't qualified for the role, but future rival Dan Rather, Brokaw notes, was "immediately cordial." By August, Watergate and its related scandals had reached Nixon's inner circle; Brokaw recalls an awkward encounter in a Washington, D.C., burger joint with John Ehrlichman and his 10-year-old son shortly after the ex--White House adviser had been indicted for planning to steal whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg's psychological profile. Chronicling the 12 months leading up to Nixon's resignation in August 1974, Brokaw describes major milestones--the "I'm not a crook" press conference; the revelation that 18-and-a-half minutes were missing from a key tape recording--and pays tribute to his fellow journalists who covered the historical events. Though he makes a handful of references to Donald Trump and the current "chaotic time in the American presidency," the theme isn't developed in detail. Watergate completists will appreciate Brokaw's clubby reminiscences; those seeking a substantive analysis, however, should look elsewhere. (Nov.)