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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 26, 2012/ 3 Adar, 5772

The ghosts of Watergate

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1960, when Thomas Mallon was in the fourth grade, he wore his Nixon-Lodge button to school and warned classmates that John Kennedy was too inexperienced to be president. Mallon was crushed when Richard Nixon lost, but things worked out well. He is a novelist for whom Nixon eventually provided interesting characters.

They’re back. Howard Hunt, Bernard Barker, James McCord, John Dean, Bob Haldeman, Fred LaRue, Gordon Liddy, John and Martha Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Charles Colson, Herbert Kalmbach, Gordon Strachan, Rose Mary Woods, Anthony (“Tough Tony”) Ulasewicz and others. These were the dramatis personae of the scandal — actually a mare’s nest of scandals — that began to become public 40 years ago this coming June 17.

The gang that couldn’t burgle well properly got caught breaking back into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate. This burglary was supposed to accomplish what a botched burglary in May had not accomplished — planting listening devices.

The characters all have an encore in Mallon’s novel “Watergate.” In his practiced hands — this is not his first fling at historical fiction — the festering mess of 1972-74 becomes almost fun, actually funny, and instructive about how history can be knocked sideways by small mediocrities.

Mallon decided to put the minor figure of LaRue — a Mississippi moneyman for the Committee for the Re-election of the President — at the novel’s center after seeing a Watergate documentary in which LaRue was profoundly remorseful about not having spoken up in a March 30, 1972, meeting with John Mitchell. There the former attorney general, then running Nixon’s reelection campaign, deferred for another day a decision about financing Liddy and other nitwits bent on mischief.

Mallon believes, and he thinks that Nixon believed, that a distracted Mitchell, who was deeply in love with his deeply disturbed and alcoholic Martha, was at least partly to blame for things spinning out of control. Be that as it may, Mallon uses his literary sensibility and mordant wit to give humanity to characters who in their confusions and delusions staggered across the national stage, utterly unqualified for the prominence they enjoyed until it devoured them.


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A mountain of nonfiction has been written about Watergate, yet four decades on it is still unclear who ordered the burglary or why. Perhaps no one ordered it; perhaps Hunt and the Cubans from Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 thought they were supposed to improvise ways to help save the republic from President Nixon’s opponent, George McGovern, who was just five months away from losing 49 states.

Mallon thinks that the burglars may have been seeking evidence that Fidel Castro was funneling money to the McGovern campaign. But having listened to hundreds of hours of Nixon’s tapes, Mallon considers them “totally inculpating”: He is sure that Nixon — a “misanthrope in a flesh-presser’s profession” — did not know in advance about the burglary. Mallon hears Nixon on tape constantly “trying to give the impression that he knows more than he did, not less.” Mallon’s “Watergate” is a tale of floundering, frightened people unsure of what had happened or what others were telling investigators.

He says that his novel contains “no big counterfactuals” — if you do not count his made-up affair between Pat Nixon and an old flame. The friendship that he depicts between Nixon, he of “that madly dissociative smile,” and the acidic Alice Roosevelt Longworth was real. Mallon deftly suggests the continuities of American history when he depicts Longworth remembering Abraham Lincoln’s former private secretary, John Hay, when he was secretary of state for her father, Theodore Roosevelt.

Most Americans have no living memory of Watergate, and Mallon’s novel, which merits many readers, will be for many of them a primer, perhaps whetting their curiosity about this ugly discontinuity in the nation’s governance. Novels can be fine supplements to histories.

Dumas Malone’s six-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson and Robert V. Remini’s several books on Andrew Jackson are splendid, but Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can. One measure of Lincoln’s greatness is that not even a curdled cynic such as Gore Vidal could resist the spell in his novel “Lincoln.” To understand Huey Long, read T. Harry Williams’ masterful biography, but then get inside the scoundrel’s skin by reading Robert Penn Warren’s portrait of Long as Willie Stark in the novel “All the King’s Men.”

And let Mallon be your archaeologist, excavating a now distant past that reminds us that things could be very much worse. They once were.



Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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