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A new work of narrative nonfiction from bestselling author Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward exposes one of the final pieces of the Richard Nixon puzzle in his new book The Last of the President’s Men. Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that changed history and led to Nixon’s resignation. In A new work of narrative nonfiction from bestselling author Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward exposes one of the final pieces of the Richard Nixon puzzle in his new book The Last of the President’s Men. Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that changed history and led to Nixon’s resignation. In forty-six hours of interviews with Butterfield, supported by thousands of documents, many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries, Woodward has uncovered new dimensions of Nixon’s secrets, obsessions and deceptions. The Last of the President’s Men could not be more timely and relevant as voters question how much do we know about those who are now seeking the presidency in 2016—what really drives them, how do they really make decisions, who do they surround themselves with, and what are their true political and personal values? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The...


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A new work of narrative nonfiction from bestselling author Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward exposes one of the final pieces of the Richard Nixon puzzle in his new book The Last of the President’s Men. Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that changed history and led to Nixon’s resignation. In A new work of narrative nonfiction from bestselling author Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward exposes one of the final pieces of the Richard Nixon puzzle in his new book The Last of the President’s Men. Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that changed history and led to Nixon’s resignation. In forty-six hours of interviews with Butterfield, supported by thousands of documents, many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries, Woodward has uncovered new dimensions of Nixon’s secrets, obsessions and deceptions. The Last of the President’s Men could not be more timely and relevant as voters question how much do we know about those who are now seeking the presidency in 2016—what really drives them, how do they really make decisions, who do they surround themselves with, and what are their true political and personal values? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The...

30 review for The Last of the President's Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gilbert Soesbee

    Still More To Learn About Watergate It may not be the definitive book about Alexander Butterfield--who, along with John Dean, represents the true, honest patriots in the horrid administration of Richard M. Nixon--but Woodward's latest book is another reminder that, even decades later, there is more to learn about Watergate. Perhaps the most telling revelation in the book is that Nixon knew early on that the intensive bombing of North Vietnam was not working and did absolutely nothing to end the tr Still More To Learn About Watergate It may not be the definitive book about Alexander Butterfield--who, along with John Dean, represents the true, honest patriots in the horrid administration of Richard M. Nixon--but Woodward's latest book is another reminder that, even decades later, there is more to learn about Watergate. Perhaps the most telling revelation in the book is that Nixon knew early on that the intensive bombing of North Vietnam was not working and did absolutely nothing to end the tragedy of the Vietnam War: except to kill innocent civilians along with soldiers. The verdict, in Nixon's own handwriting, was, "zilch." Given that knowledge, to continue the heaviest bombing strategy in U.S. history is nothing short of criminal, in my view. But the focus of this book is Butterfield, the man who first publicly revealed Nixon's secret White House recording system. He is shown in vivid detail to be that great rarity among the president's men: an honest man. He was conflicted about the propriety of many of his actions during his service to the administration, but, when the time came to answer direct questions, under oath, about his, admittedly rather minor, knowledge of Nixon and Watergate, he did not hesitate to answer truthfully. An honest man--and someone to be admired in the quagmire of a troubling time in our history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Alexander P. Butterfield, assistant to H.R. Haldeman, then FAA Commissioner during the Nixon administration, is the fellow who revealed the existence of the White House voice-activated taping system when directly queried by a lawyer representing Republican investigators--the tapes which led eventually to charges of impeachment and the president's resignation. This book, based on extensive interviews and documents retained by Butterfield, tells the story of his years with Nixon, describing his im Alexander P. Butterfield, assistant to H.R. Haldeman, then FAA Commissioner during the Nixon administration, is the fellow who revealed the existence of the White House voice-activated taping system when directly queried by a lawyer representing Republican investigators--the tapes which led eventually to charges of impeachment and the president's resignation. This book, based on extensive interviews and documents retained by Butterfield, tells the story of his years with Nixon, describing his impressions of Nixon's personality ('weird' aptly sums it up) and Nixon's White House.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Alexander Butterfield was President Nixon’s White House Aide, who revealed the existence of the secret recording system in the White House when testifying to the Senate Watergate Committee on July 16, 1973. The book is well written and researched. Woodward is well known as the journalist that broke the Watergate story. Woodward states he interviewed Butterfield for forty hours and also had access to the Butterfield papers and the national archive of Watergate papers. Before becoming a White House Alexander Butterfield was President Nixon’s White House Aide, who revealed the existence of the secret recording system in the White House when testifying to the Senate Watergate Committee on July 16, 1973. The book is well written and researched. Woodward is well known as the journalist that broke the Watergate story. Woodward states he interviewed Butterfield for forty hours and also had access to the Butterfield papers and the national archive of Watergate papers. Before becoming a White House Aide Butterfield was a career Air Force officer. He was a college classmate of H. R. Haldeman. Butterfield left his job as an Aide at the end of Nixon’s first term and went to work for the FAA. The book provides new information and insight into Nixon and it also amplifies existing knowledge. Woodward also adds his own comments and information that he had gathered and published when appropriate in the story. I was most interested in what Butterfield said about Pat Nixon; that she was a “borderline abused” wife, ignored, or treated with chilly distain by Nixon. I found this book so interesting I finished it in one sitting. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is short, only six hours but is packed with lots of information. Campbell Scott does a good job narrating the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    The fascination of Watergate continues for me, even 40-plus years later. Richard Nixon was a truly bizarre man, and his White House secretive and dysfunctional. How an extremely introverted, awkward and vindictive geek like Nixon ever rose to the presidency is one of the great mysteries of our times. In Bob Woodward's latest book about Watergate, he highlights maybe the most forgotten player in the scandal. Alexander Butterfield, assistant to H.R. Haldeman (Nixon's de-facto Chief of Staff and rig The fascination of Watergate continues for me, even 40-plus years later. Richard Nixon was a truly bizarre man, and his White House secretive and dysfunctional. How an extremely introverted, awkward and vindictive geek like Nixon ever rose to the presidency is one of the great mysteries of our times. In Bob Woodward's latest book about Watergate, he highlights maybe the most forgotten player in the scandal. Alexander Butterfield, assistant to H.R. Haldeman (Nixon's de-facto Chief of Staff and right-hand man), was the man responsible for the installation and upkeep of Richard Nixon's secret taping system. The taping system was known only to Nixon and a couple of trusted aides. As the scandal unfolds and begins to engulf the White House, Butterfield, largely an unknown staffer, was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Watergate. In the course of the questioning Butterfield reveled the existence of the tapes. The result was a firestorm that had huge consequences for the president, and really our country as a whole. The tapes ultimately proved Nixon's complicity in the Watergate cover-up, and launched what could have been a Constitutional crisis. This book is certainly not as spellbinding as Woodward's (and Bernstein's) All the President's Men, or the sequel The Final Days. But this is an interesting look at a peripheral character who ultimately leads to Nixon's fall. Many new details of the Nixon White House are reveled, including some about the Vietnam War mess, in addition to Watergate.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Just when you thought there wasn’t anything left to learn about Watergate, Woodward churns out another missive, this one dealing with Alex Butterfield, Nixon’s personal aide who exposed the secret White House taping system. It’s a quick, light read (Woodward has mellowed over the years), offering some new, interesting facts about a dark time in America’s presidential history. Citing numerous examples, Butterfield helps you understand Nixon’s extreme paranoia and deep-seated quest for revenge aga Just when you thought there wasn’t anything left to learn about Watergate, Woodward churns out another missive, this one dealing with Alex Butterfield, Nixon’s personal aide who exposed the secret White House taping system. It’s a quick, light read (Woodward has mellowed over the years), offering some new, interesting facts about a dark time in America’s presidential history. Citing numerous examples, Butterfield helps you understand Nixon’s extreme paranoia and deep-seated quest for revenge against his political enemies. If you’re a political junkie, put it on your reading list.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michele Weiner

    I am a Nixon junkie, I admit it. I loved the inside scoop from one of the men closest to this disturbed man. The informant (Woodward always has one) is Alexander Butterfield, who was a Haldeman assistant in charge of keeping the little things moving smoothly in the office and keeping Pat Nixon away from her husband. Butterfield had daily contact, up close and personal, yet was not involved in policy-making (read Watergate) meetings. He was finally (due to Woodward's suggestion) called to testify I am a Nixon junkie, I admit it. I loved the inside scoop from one of the men closest to this disturbed man. The informant (Woodward always has one) is Alexander Butterfield, who was a Haldeman assistant in charge of keeping the little things moving smoothly in the office and keeping Pat Nixon away from her husband. Butterfield had daily contact, up close and personal, yet was not involved in policy-making (read Watergate) meetings. He was finally (due to Woodward's suggestion) called to testify at the Senate Watergate hearings, and in the pre-interviews with the staff lawyers, finally admitted that there was a taping system, voice activated, recording everything in several locations. He describes his feelings about Nixon and about outing him, and they are not coherent. On the one hand, he harbored many resentments and new that this weirdo shouldn't be president; and on the other hand, he respected his hard work and broad vision. He said he wouldn't have done it unless the lawyers asked the right question, but he also felt it should come out. If Nixon was innocent, the tapes would prove it. He ended up sounding like a pure careerist and a bit troubled himself. But Woodward always makes use of the kind of person who is just out of the limelight and maybe looking for little love.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Even though I majored in History, I never really studied more modern history. All I knew about Nixon was of the "I am not a crook" variety of common knowledge. This book was great. I was enrapt in the story and I definitely am interested in reading further. The similarities between him and Trump is uncanny in certain respects. 4.5/5

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Hinton

    Let me start by making a true confession: in my wild, reckless youth I was a Republican, A conservative Republican. I'm not now and I am still doing penance, but I do have that in my past. And because of that, I met Richard Nixon on several occasions and I've always been interested in books on this strange person who dominated so much of politics for so much of my life. The first time I met Nixon was when I was 15 years old. I went to the opening of a new addition to the Herbert Hoover Presidenti Let me start by making a true confession: in my wild, reckless youth I was a Republican, A conservative Republican. I'm not now and I am still doing penance, but I do have that in my past. And because of that, I met Richard Nixon on several occasions and I've always been interested in books on this strange person who dominated so much of politics for so much of my life. The first time I met Nixon was when I was 15 years old. I went to the opening of a new addition to the Herbert Hoover Presidential library in my home state of Iowa. Both Eisenhower and Nixon were the guests of honor. I stood in the crowd just behind the security line as Eisenhower and Nixon entered the small Hoover family blacksmith shop on the library grounds. I was a bold kid and I slipped under the security rope, walked right past the guards, and into the blacksmith shop. I found myself alone with Eisenhower, Nixon, and their guide for over five minutes. I am telling you all this because I went up to Nixon and started trying to talk to him. I will never forget how difficult it was for this man to make small talk with a 15 year old kid who happened to be very precocious politically. The next two times I met him--the same. This guy just could not relate to people. But yet....but yet...he was twice elected President of the United States. Despite any historical revisionism going on, this man was a terrible President who trampled the Constitution, had no respect for civil liberties, and made a habit of lying to the American people. Woodward's book, in telling the story of Alexander Butterfield, gives a fascinating behind the scenes look at Nixon in the White House. And it is a very ugly scene. Butterfield was one of Nixon's closest aides, one of the few with unlimited access to Nixon. He is also a key figure in bringing Nixon down by revealing the existence of Nixon's secret Oval Office taping system, which Butterfield had installed on Nixon's orders. Woodward's book is a de facto memoir by Butterfield, written with Butterfield's full cooperation and with access to his very complete personal archives. For me, just one small revelation in the book justifies its entire existence and makes it very relevant to today. Butterfield reveals a secret, never-before released memo from Nixon in which the President concedes that the massive bombing of North Viet Nam,done over four years by his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, and continued by Nixon for another four years, "had no effect---ZILCH!--on the North Vietnamese." This memo was written by Nixon at the same time that he was reassuring the American people that the bombing campaign was succeeding. This secret memo should give pause to anyone who this that ISIS can be defeated by carpet, saturation bombing. A fairly short book, invaluable for what you will learn about Nixon and the men around him and the lies they told.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    In his latest book, Bob Woodward has added more insight into the Nixon presidency and the Watergate crimes. Alexander Butterfield, the aide who worked right next to Nixon for three years, was instrumental in his downfall when he disclosed the taping system in the White House. I remember well those days in 1973 when I was a stay-at-home housewife who sat, day after day, enthralled by the trial. Perhaps for me the most fascinating part of this book are the glimpses of what Richard Nixon was really In his latest book, Bob Woodward has added more insight into the Nixon presidency and the Watergate crimes. Alexander Butterfield, the aide who worked right next to Nixon for three years, was instrumental in his downfall when he disclosed the taping system in the White House. I remember well those days in 1973 when I was a stay-at-home housewife who sat, day after day, enthralled by the trial. Perhaps for me the most fascinating part of this book are the glimpses of what Richard Nixon was really like as Commander-in-Chief and as husband and father. The appendix contains numerous documents which add depth to this sad moment in history. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads program for my free copy. I'll be sharing it with friends and family.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    While I enjoyed this, there were several issues that I wish had been addressed such as Butterfield's thoughts about the actions of Haldeman and other staffers. I believe the book would only appeal to people who had a real interest in Watergate or the Nixon presidency.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robbie

    An interesting account about Alex Butterfield who served as an assistant to President Nixon. During Butterfield's tenure, and under Nixon's orders, he orchestrated the installation of a taping system in the Oval Office. During the Watergate hearings, Butterfield provided testimony that exposed the system and ultimately led to Nixon's resignation. This book was written after extensive interviews with Butterfield and a thorough review of documents that Butterfield brought from the White House when An interesting account about Alex Butterfield who served as an assistant to President Nixon. During Butterfield's tenure, and under Nixon's orders, he orchestrated the installation of a taping system in the Oval Office. During the Watergate hearings, Butterfield provided testimony that exposed the system and ultimately led to Nixon's resignation. This book was written after extensive interviews with Butterfield and a thorough review of documents that Butterfield brought from the White House when he resigned. Butterfield was a trusted assistant to Nixon and was able to paint a picture of the President seldom seen by the public. It was particularly interesting to read this during the turbulent political times in which we now live.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I was -- am -- a Watergate nerd. I followed all of the Congressional and legal events day by day from the opening session of the Ervin Committee through the night Nixon announced his resignation. I knew the names of all the minor players in CREEP. It's fascinating to me that there are still new books being published with revelations from participants that have not as yet been revealed. Alexander Butterfield is famous as the man who "let slip" the truth that there was a hidden, voice-activated tap I was -- am -- a Watergate nerd. I followed all of the Congressional and legal events day by day from the opening session of the Ervin Committee through the night Nixon announced his resignation. I knew the names of all the minor players in CREEP. It's fascinating to me that there are still new books being published with revelations from participants that have not as yet been revealed. Alexander Butterfield is famous as the man who "let slip" the truth that there was a hidden, voice-activated tape recording system in the Oval Office. This is his story. I came away with less respect, but perhaps a little sympathy for him. Good God Almighty, Richard Nixon was an icky, rude, creepy, nasty man whose only goal in life seemed to be getting back at those who had looked down upon him. And "getting back at" might just be Butterfield's motivation for the way Nixon treated him throughout his four years work in the White House.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Washington Post reporter (who with Carl Bernstein helped expose the Nixon era Watergate scandal) Bob Woodward's latest book. Investigative reporting of Alexander Butterfield who was the first to divulge the existence of a secret oval office taping system that provided evidence of Nixon's complicity in the Watergate cover-up. This book covered quite a bit I already knew about, but amplified the defects in Nixon's personality, the total loyalty of those working for him, and that most of Nixon's st Washington Post reporter (who with Carl Bernstein helped expose the Nixon era Watergate scandal) Bob Woodward's latest book. Investigative reporting of Alexander Butterfield who was the first to divulge the existence of a secret oval office taping system that provided evidence of Nixon's complicity in the Watergate cover-up. This book covered quite a bit I already knew about, but amplified the defects in Nixon's personality, the total loyalty of those working for him, and that most of Nixon's staff thought loyalty encompassed covering up wrongdoing. Alex Butterfield did not come across as a totally sterling character - his goal was not to be of public service, but to see what he could do to advance himself. He left his Navy career to become to become a stand-in for Haldeman as President Nixon's deputy chief of staff in the White House. The extent of the defects in Nixons's character and personality were of much amazement to me - had heard all detailed previously, but this retelling was chilling and in greater detail - how such a person was elected president with such a following - and how the country survived his leadership - totally amazing. And we're supposed to be the greatest nation in the world! Maybe there's hope yet? Butterfield has written an unpublished memoir, is now 89, and working on a Master's thesis. A remarkable man in some aspects, but Woodward's chronicle plants the suspicion that there's something amiss in his personality, although perhaps not to the extent of the deficiencies of other Nixon insiders. This book brought to the fore for me the question of how far loyalty to the person who you work for should go. Was amazing that Butterfield was held in disdain for 'blowing the whistle' when he simply was answering a direct question under oath. This book will be more interesting to those who experienced the 'Watergate' era, and of course to fans of investigative reporter and author Bob Woodward.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Scott

    As a Watergate addict from 'way back, I had to read this book. It's brief and typical of Woodward's approach, a series of 3x5 cards about the Nixon aide, Alex Butterfield, who ran the taping system and eventually revealed its existence to the Congressional committee investigating President Nixon's crimes. It was the tapes that proved his undoing. I thought the author padded the book with unimportant detail and unnecessary documentation of his interviews and research. It would have been much more As a Watergate addict from 'way back, I had to read this book. It's brief and typical of Woodward's approach, a series of 3x5 cards about the Nixon aide, Alex Butterfield, who ran the taping system and eventually revealed its existence to the Congressional committee investigating President Nixon's crimes. It was the tapes that proved his undoing. I thought the author padded the book with unimportant detail and unnecessary documentation of his interviews and research. It would have been much more worthwhile had we learned more about Butterfield, the man. Perhaps that was impossible; like many of Nixon's men, and they were mostly men, Butterfield comes across as cagey and duplicitous. But to make this essay book-length (and charge a hefty $28), I think the publishers and Woodward have done this worthy project a disservice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Just when we think that we have heard everything about the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward publishes another book, this time a brief examination of Alexander Butterfield who left a career in the Air Force to work for Bob Haldeman in the Nixon White House. Butterfield was promoted to Deputy Assistant to the President from 1969 to 1973 and he paints a picture of Nixon as an intelligent but extremely petty and vindictive man. Butterfield was the staffer who oversaw the installation of the secret ta Just when we think that we have heard everything about the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward publishes another book, this time a brief examination of Alexander Butterfield who left a career in the Air Force to work for Bob Haldeman in the Nixon White House. Butterfield was promoted to Deputy Assistant to the President from 1969 to 1973 and he paints a picture of Nixon as an intelligent but extremely petty and vindictive man. Butterfield was the staffer who oversaw the installation of the secret taping system in the Oval Office and it was Butterfield who revealed the existence of that taping system to the Watergate Committee on national television. The text is augmented by dozens of documents, most of them originials, that Butterfield took with him when he left the White House to become the chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Clint Hill

    I found this book especially interesting because I was at that time the Assistant Director of the Secret Service, responsible for all protective forces. I knew Alex Butterfield, and have a great deal of respect for him. The book is truly revealing about a sitting president, his attitude toward his staff, and it is unfortunate we don't have this type of information prior to someone taking office. I highly recommend this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Being too young to have lived through Watergate, I didn't realize how little I knew about it with the exception of a few bullet points. In this account we learn about Alex Buttetfield, Nixon's Deputy Chief of Staff, and how his testimony led to the discovery of Nixon's recording system. Butterfield's detailed account of what happened gives a glimpse into Nixon's peculiar personality. After reading this, I definitely will be adding All the President's Men to my to be read pile.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rene Bahrenfuss

    A startling, biting portrait of Richard Nixon. Could not help mentally contrasting this book with Fire & Fury. F & F suffers from being an "in the moment" history--lightly sourced and without the strength of perspective. This book is deeply and thoroughly sourced with the advantage of decades of perspective. Both books paint portraits of flawed presidencies and flawed men, to be sure, but this one will stand the test of time while F & F is likely to be supplanted by works of stronger A startling, biting portrait of Richard Nixon. Could not help mentally contrasting this book with Fire & Fury. F & F suffers from being an "in the moment" history--lightly sourced and without the strength of perspective. This book is deeply and thoroughly sourced with the advantage of decades of perspective. Both books paint portraits of flawed presidencies and flawed men, to be sure, but this one will stand the test of time while F & F is likely to be supplanted by works of stronger scholarship.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Casey Zvanut

    This was a great piece of insight into the inner-workings of Nixon's White House through the eyes of Alex P. Butterfield. The book follows Butterfield from his first tense days as a deputy aide to being a member of Nixon's trusted inner circle to the fallout of his reveal of the secret Oval Office tapes. I really like the fact that Woodward humanizes Nixon so well. Over the years after Watergate, Nixon became pretty much a caricature of himself, and it was nice to feel like I got a more accurate This was a great piece of insight into the inner-workings of Nixon's White House through the eyes of Alex P. Butterfield. The book follows Butterfield from his first tense days as a deputy aide to being a member of Nixon's trusted inner circle to the fallout of his reveal of the secret Oval Office tapes. I really like the fact that Woodward humanizes Nixon so well. Over the years after Watergate, Nixon became pretty much a caricature of himself, and it was nice to feel like I got a more accurate picture of this intelligent, driven, yet paranoid and complex man.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Like the majority of Americans during the spring/summer of 1973, I was glued to a TV set watching the Senate’s Watergate hearings. There was a lot of electrifying testimony, but none was more astonishing than the relatively brief appearance by Alexander Butterfield, then head of the FAA. His FAA connection didn’t matter; what did matter was that he was formerly executive assistant to H. R. Haldeman, President Nixon’s Chief of Staff. Not only did Butterfield have regular contact with the presiden Like the majority of Americans during the spring/summer of 1973, I was glued to a TV set watching the Senate’s Watergate hearings. There was a lot of electrifying testimony, but none was more astonishing than the relatively brief appearance by Alexander Butterfield, then head of the FAA. His FAA connection didn’t matter; what did matter was that he was formerly executive assistant to H. R. Haldeman, President Nixon’s Chief of Staff. Not only did Butterfield have regular contact with the president; he also personally oversaw a tightly kept secret — the installation of a White House taping system, ordered by Nixon. Voice-activated, the system recorded every word spoken in the Oval Office. And with Butterfield’s riveting testimony, that secret became public knowledge. Nixon immediately had to decide what to do with the tapes. One of his attorneys advised him to have them destroyed, but another argued the opposite position. Strangely, Nixon decided that the tapes should be preserved on the grounds that they would exonerate him of any wrong doing. That, of course, was delusional, since they had precisely the opposite effect. In 2014, Bob Woodward began interviewing Butterfield, then 88 years old but possessed of a razor-sharp memory. Butterfield also provided Woodward with reams of documents, some of which had never been seen elsewhere. They reveal Nixon to be the unsavory, manipulative, petty, and socially awkward character that we know from other sources. But one of the most stunning items was a top secret memo written to Nixon by Henry Kissinger on January 3, 1972. Scrawled across that memo, in Nixon’s handwriting, was this: “We have had 10 years of total control of the air in Laos and V.Nam. The result=Zilch.” At the time, Nixon as commander in chief had been bombing in Southeast Asia for three years, and by his own estimation with no positive results, but in a taped conversation held some eight months later on September 8, 1972, Nixon said to Kissinger: “Just got Harris’ [poll] data. It’s two-to-one for bombing. Two-and-a-half-to-one for bombing. They want us to be very, very tough” [p. 124]. So, further destruction and human carnage didn't matter; the next election would be held soon, and continuing the bombing was going to help Nixon win. In a lengthy appendix, Woodward reproduces a number of documents (the aforementioned item was incorporated into the text). They show Nixon’s concern over press coverage of the My Lai massacre, and his irritation over the fact that some offices in the Executive Office Building displayed pictures of presidents other than himself (he issued an executive order that all pictures of past presidents be removed). Another set of memos discuss the implementation of a White House church service series: “The basic purpose will be to use it as a political opportunity” [p. 219]. But although "We should . . . be using these services as an opportunity to be nice to our enemies" [p. 220], "[t]he New York Times and New York Post must never be invited to these services” [p. 222]. Yet another “confidential” memo to Butterfield from Haldeman insists that the Nixon did not want Henry Kissinger to be seated “next to the most glamorous woman present” at State dinners. “It’s starting to cause unfavorable talk that serves no useful purpose” [p. 225]. Then there are some fawning letters to Nixon from Warren Burger praising Nixon’s handling of the “Fortas matter”. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas had been receiving payments from a foundation whose funder expected a quid pro quo. When this news came to light, Fortas resigned, and shortly afterwards Nixon nominated Burger to become the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. There are also lengthy political memos, one set documenting secret talks between Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and Jordan’s King Hussein (who had been on the CIA’s payroll for years), and a second set revealing Henry Kissinger’s duplicitous treatment of South Vietnam’s president, Nguyen Van Thieu. The Last of the President’s Men is briskly written and meticulously documented. Although it’s nominally about Butterfield, his story is inextricably tied to Richard Nixon. Both men had their failings, but in the ranking of honor there's no contest at all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kennedy

    Let me say at the outset that I'm a Watergate junkie. That scandal was a defining moment of my young life, happening just as I was contemplating my career interests and direction. So, I'm all in for a book about Alexander Butterfield. Having read as much about Watergate as I have, his was a familiar name and role. From this book, I took away new insights about Nixon's personality, as recounted by Butterfield. It amazes me that in that era when media presence was already becoming so important to a Let me say at the outset that I'm a Watergate junkie. That scandal was a defining moment of my young life, happening just as I was contemplating my career interests and direction. So, I'm all in for a book about Alexander Butterfield. Having read as much about Watergate as I have, his was a familiar name and role. From this book, I took away new insights about Nixon's personality, as recounted by Butterfield. It amazes me that in that era when media presence was already becoming so important to a politician that Nixon actually got elected, not once but twice. He comes across in this book as a stunted and emotionally crippled man whose every interaction with people was painful. Butterfield's explanation of the White House taping system and how it came about was interesting -- that Nixon wanted every moment of his administration backed up by complete audio recordings, in the interest of an accurate historical account. Well, he got accuracy all right! The behind the scenes look at how Butterfield came to testify before the committee investigating Watergate and how he ultimately decided to reveal the taping system was fascinating. I suspect there's a little revisionist history going on here. Butterfield paints himself as an honest man just trying to do the decent thing. And too often, Woodward simply reprints material from All the President's Men, instead of revisiting material in a fresh way. The chapters that relate to Nixon's personality, Watergate and Vietnam were the most interesting to me. Other chapters less so. The minutia of endless White House memos just took things to a micro level that to me seemed inconsequential. But if you're a real history buff, and not just honed in on Watergate, the other chapters might interest you as well. I'm up for any little piece of the Watergate puzzle that can be revealed, even now after more than forty years. So, keep 'em coming!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hilda Hansen

    Woodward offers yet another perspective on the Nixon years. Little has been written about Alexander Butterfield and I have not found a memoir by Butterfield himself. With the publication of this book, perhaps one is not needed. Woodward has done his homework with more than 40 hours of interviews and extensive digging through Butterfield's papers and other sources to produce this fast-moving, fascinating account of the Nixon years as Butterfield, one of the handful of people who knew about the Pr Woodward offers yet another perspective on the Nixon years. Little has been written about Alexander Butterfield and I have not found a memoir by Butterfield himself. With the publication of this book, perhaps one is not needed. Woodward has done his homework with more than 40 hours of interviews and extensive digging through Butterfield's papers and other sources to produce this fast-moving, fascinating account of the Nixon years as Butterfield, one of the handful of people who knew about the President's taping system, experienced them. Nixon comes through as detached, impersonal and rude, even to his wife. One sees the President's detachment as he writes memos addressed to "Mrs. Nixon" from "The President," asking her in one such memo to replace his bedside table with one that "RN can get his knees under." He is rude to Mrs. Nixon as she sits beside him on Marine One making suggestions for a family vacation. Not only does he not answer, he ignores her completely. One sees Nixon's insecurity and self-absorption as he complains about seeing a picture of JFK in one of the permanent White House Staff offices. He gives an order that all pictures of past presidents be removed from offices related to the White House and Butterfield is tasked with going through all 35 White House Staff offices to find such pictures and ensure the order is followed. He finds pictures of past presidents in 8 of 35 offices, all of which also have pictures of Nixon displayed. The President also orders a review of the files of all personnel working in the permanent staff offices to ensure there is no one who is not completely loyal to him. The book's value is not in new revelations about Watergate (there are none) but in further illustration of Nixon's personality and how much time and effort he and his staff, at his direction, devoted to matters that had nothing to do with his task of leading the country.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    As a history major and a college student at the time of Watergate I actually enjoyed the reading trip back in time from a new perspective. I have read most of the scholarly books on the period of Watergate and its unraveling but not from the perspective of the person who broke the story wide open. In the aftermath of the news of the Oval Office taping much was then focused on getting the tapes, the Courts, Rose Mary Woods, the 18.5 minute gap, the impeachment, resignation, etc. But, it was Butte As a history major and a college student at the time of Watergate I actually enjoyed the reading trip back in time from a new perspective. I have read most of the scholarly books on the period of Watergate and its unraveling but not from the perspective of the person who broke the story wide open. In the aftermath of the news of the Oval Office taping much was then focused on getting the tapes, the Courts, Rose Mary Woods, the 18.5 minute gap, the impeachment, resignation, etc. But, it was Butterfield and his testimony that broke it wide open and began the journey to the end of the saga of Watergate. Very interesting read from a man who personally took rudeness from anyone very deeply and Nixon very clearly displayed enormous rudeness to him from the very start. It was also interesting from a psychology background to read about the peculiarities of a man who held the most powerful job in the world. Almost frightening in its reality but then again, nothing keeps it from happening again in the future. After all, the person who holds the office of President is human first and foremost and what demons haunt them haunt the US as well during their time in office. To think that is not the case is to live in a fairly tale of childish illusion about those who run our government on any level.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    With Woodward's name as author I was expecting another juicy exposition of 'tricky Dickie's' tenure in the White House, without whitewash. After a host of political publications from 'All the President's Men' to 'Obama's Wars', 'The Last of the President's Men' fizzed out like a damp firework. The focus of the book is Alex P. Butterfield, who joined the White House staff directly after Nixon's election in '69 as Bob Haldeman's deputy aide to the president. Butterfield was the one who testified to With Woodward's name as author I was expecting another juicy exposition of 'tricky Dickie's' tenure in the White House, without whitewash. After a host of political publications from 'All the President's Men' to 'Obama's Wars', 'The Last of the President's Men' fizzed out like a damp firework. The focus of the book is Alex P. Butterfield, who joined the White House staff directly after Nixon's election in '69 as Bob Haldeman's deputy aide to the president. Butterfield was the one who testified to the Senate Watergate Committee in '73 that Richard Nixon had a taping system in the Oval Office. Derived from Woodward's interviews with Butterfield over a four year period, and secret confidential documents provided by the ex-aide, we get the dope on Nixon. His weirdness and paranoia, no longer front page news. Bernstein and Woodward began that process way back. The Appendix of 'secret', 'eyes only' memoranda, that occupy around a third of the book pages contain nothing that is earth shattering, but do provide further examples of the Chief Exec's flawed character.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hanley5545 Hanley

    Richard Nixon is clearly a "Shakespearean" dude and the modern champion/victim of his own huberis in this book . Richard III without his "Crown" Bob Woodward has written an interesting book well worth the read AND from a unique and quite personal prespective. Alex Butterfield is that last man standing, already almost forgotten, and a complex character he is...at times a Talleyrand without the robes. I am a life long republican but not quite a Republican and Nixon started it. I voted for McGovern be Richard Nixon is clearly a "Shakespearean" dude and the modern champion/victim of his own huberis in this book . Richard III without his "Crown" Bob Woodward has written an interesting book well worth the read AND from a unique and quite personal prespective. Alex Butterfield is that last man standing, already almost forgotten, and a complex character he is...at times a Talleyrand without the robes. I am a life long republican but not quite a Republican and Nixon started it. I voted for McGovern because I just knew in my gut that the spooks were getting spookier after Watergate initially broke. This book is not only for political junkies (which I am not) and well describes the modern complexity of issues of leadership and follower-ship...loyalty and professional fealty, ... justice and obligation in a subtle corporatist-statist social fabric and reminds us of the clear risks, dangers and consequences in this all too partisan world. ALL are here and writ large.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    So much intrigue, whistle blowing and pointing fingers in the Nixon administration. I often think the public shouldn’t know everything that goes on. It seems most of society loves trouble. The days of the somewhat respectful news people are long gone. I have a good opinion on Nixon and all because a history professor was so good I was challenged to write a report on Nixon’s accomplishments. Every single president has had positives and negatives and all have their secrets. Most of which have bee So much intrigue, whistle blowing and pointing fingers in the Nixon administration. I often think the public shouldn’t know everything that goes on. It seems most of society loves trouble. The days of the somewhat respectful news people are long gone. I have a good opinion on Nixon and all because a history professor was so good I was challenged to write a report on Nixon’s accomplishments. Every single president has had positives and negatives and all have their secrets. Most of which have been exposed. I do try and see both sides and usually do understand how and why things happened. It’s easy after the fact. Politics is tough….my favorite political reading material is about FDR and Churchill. They had their foes too… ah well…

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary-Ann

    When it comes to the Nixon Presidency's misbehavior, Bob Woodward is like a dog with a bone. He gnaws out the last morsel of substance. He has been doing this for decades, and I have to love him for it! Alexander Butterfield and the White House documents he recently provided to Woodward are the focus of this book. You may remember Butterfield's televised bombshell revelation in 1973 of the existence of an extensive White House taping system. Butterfield was a deputy assistant to Bob Haldeman duri When it comes to the Nixon Presidency's misbehavior, Bob Woodward is like a dog with a bone. He gnaws out the last morsel of substance. He has been doing this for decades, and I have to love him for it! Alexander Butterfield and the White House documents he recently provided to Woodward are the focus of this book. You may remember Butterfield's televised bombshell revelation in 1973 of the existence of an extensive White House taping system. Butterfield was a deputy assistant to Bob Haldeman during Nixon's first term. He got to know a lot of Nixon's foibles, and those foibles and insecurities sometimes got documented in memoranda. Photos of those memos plus other interesting documents are included in the extensive appendix of Woodward's book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edgar Raines

    This is in many ways a shocking account of how Richard Nixon interacted with his personal staff. Alexander Butterfield had a close personal relationship with the president during the first term. This book focuses on Butterfield's role in the Nixon White House during the first term. Nixon was so shy, so introverted, so self-centered that he needed talking points before he attended a staff party. He could be offensively rude to people he did not know. His relationship with Pat Nixon bordered on th This is in many ways a shocking account of how Richard Nixon interacted with his personal staff. Alexander Butterfield had a close personal relationship with the president during the first term. This book focuses on Butterfield's role in the Nixon White House during the first term. Nixon was so shy, so introverted, so self-centered that he needed talking points before he attended a staff party. He could be offensively rude to people he did not know. His relationship with Pat Nixon bordered on the dysfunctional. That is perhaps the saddest revelation in this account. Mrs. Nixon was by all accounts a real lady. Nixon was a lonely man eaten up with anger. Acting on that anger is what brought him down.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I am a glutton for all things Watergate and have devoured the books by Woodward and Bernstein on the topic. This one, eagerly anticipated as it was, however, was a bit of a let down to me. A mostly dry reciting of facts and conversations with none of the heart of the earlier books on the topic. I finished feeling nothing really had been added to this sad tale and at most the only benefit was to Mr. Woodwards bank balance.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim Mullin

    A fascinating read, I found the account interesting and alarming as Mr Butterfield describes the inner workings of the Nixon presidential office. The book was even more more fascinating for me as I met with Mr. Butterfield when I was in charge of logistics at Blue Star Foods and he was working with Armistead & Alexander in the mid 80's

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