The most recommended books about Watergate

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to Watergate, and here are their favorite Watergate books.
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Book cover of Richard Nixon: The Life

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

In order to understand Watergate, you first have to understand Richard Nixon. This is the best, single-volume biography that chronicles Nixon's life in a balanced and fair way that gives us great insight into his character and motivations. Published in 2017, it is a model of its kind. Farrell attempts neither to vilify Nixon nor to defend him, but to explain him, in the context of his times. He gives us the extraordinary story of the self-made man from a struggling Quaker family in California who rose to the top through his own efforts - and then threw it all away through his own fatal flaws. Many of Nixon's gambles succeeded. Watergate was the one that failed.

By John A. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Richard Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a Sunday Independent Book of the Year

A deeply researched, superbly crafted biography of America's most complex president.

Award-winning biographer John A. Farrell examines the life and legacy of one of America's most controversial political figures, from Nixon's early days in the Navy to his political career as senator, vice president, and finally president, and his downfall in 1974 following the Watergate scandal.

Richard Nixon is a magisterial portrait of the man who embodied post-war American political cynicism - and was destroyed by it.


Book cover of Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

Had Nixon not taped himself in secret, it is doubtful that he would have been forced to resign as president of the United States. While some of the most incriminating tapes were released as a result of a Supreme Court order, the remainder became the subject of a long legal tussle that continued for several decades. Nobody did more to secure the full release of the tapes than the historian Stanley Kutler who published highlights in his 1997 book, Abuse of Power. The tapes provide a unique insight into the functioning of the modern-day presidency, and Nixon's own personality, that is unlikely ever to be matched. Thanks to Kutler's efforts, we are able to hear Nixon in his own words and feel his pain and bewilderment as his world disintegrates around him.

By Stanley I. Kutler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Abuse of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No President has taped Oval conversations so thoroughly or found himself in as much trouble as Richard Nixon. He and his heirs fought for years to keep hours of these sensitive recordings from ever being released. Now Stanley I. Kutler, an emminent historian and one of the principle parties to the lawsuit that forced the tapes release, has edited and annotated every tape concerning abuses of power from Nixon's entire presidency. Among the breathtaking revelations are evidence of Nixon's direct role in the obstruction of justice during the 'Watergate' investigation to the proposal for a $5 million scheme to secretly…


Book cover of Warrior: Frank Sturgis---The Cia's #1 Assassin-Spy, Who Nearly Killed Castro But Was Ambushed by Watergate

Jan Stocklassa Author Of The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

From my list on real conspiracies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was researching the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme when I came across the private archive of author Stieg Larsson. After eight years of research, my book The Man Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin was published, which shines new light on the conspiracy behind the unsolved murder. The book has been translated into 27 languages. My first book Gripen by Prague exposes corruption by Saab and BAe in connection with the sale of supersonic jet fighters to the Czech Republic. In the aftermath of the book, police investigations were opened in seven countries including the US and the UK.

Jan's book list on real conspiracies

Jan Stocklassa Why did Jan love this book?

My first pick was the story of Marita Lorenz who tried to kill Fidel Castro. This book is the story of the man who gave her that assignment. Frank Sturgis struggled side-by-side with Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution only to turn against him when he realized that Castro had become a communist. Then Sturgis joined forces with the American Mafia as well as with the CIA. He made several attempts to assassinate Castro during several decades as well as carried out assignments for the Mafia and the CIA in the US, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. We know he was one of the “Plumbers” arrested for the Watergate burglary, but was he involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy as Marita Lorenz claimed? Opinions differ…

By Jim Hunt, Bob Risch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warrior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The press called him a "real-life James Bond."

Fidel Castro called him "the most dangerous CIA agent."

History remembers him as a Watergate burglar, yet the Watergate break-in was his least perilous mission.

Frank Sturgis―using more than thirty aliases and code names―trained guerilla armies in twelve countries on three continents and spearheaded assassination plots to overthrow foreign governments including those of Cuba, Panama, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

Warrior follows the shocking, often unbelievable adventures of Sturgis, brought to life by his nephew, Jim Hunt, and his cowriter, Bob Risch. Also included are never-before-seen personal photos of Sturgis and…


Book cover of The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

There was no one closer to Richard Nixon as Watergate unfolded than his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. Every evening, Haldeman dictated an audio diary that is an essential source for understanding the Nixon presidency and the chain of events that led to its unraveling. While Haldeman admired Nixon, he was also well aware of his faults. He records the triumphs, failures, and personal quirks of his boss on an almost minute-to-minute basis. I think that Haldeman has it right when he concludes that Nixon did not know about Watergate in advance, in the sense that he did not order the break-in, but certainly caused it, in the sense that he created the culture that spawned all the abuses. Ultimately, these abuses led to Haldeman's own resignation and eighteen months in prison for Watergate-related offenses.

By H.R. Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haldeman Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never-before-published diaries from Richard Nixon's late Chief of Staff offer a meticulously detailed behind-the-scenes account of his years at the White House that included Agnew's resignation, Cambodian bombings, and Watergate.


Book cover of Being Nixon: A Man Divided

Talmage Boston Author Of Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer Gets Answers from the Experts about Our Presidents

From my list on presidential biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the last eight years, I’ve conducted as many onstage interviews with leading presidential historians as anyone else in the country. To prepare for them, I read presidential biographies thoroughly and constantly. The fact that my work has been strongly endorsed by people in presidential history circles with the stature of Ken Burns, David McCullough, James Baker, Jon Meacham, and Douglas Brinkley should be a strong indication that my opinion about this subject matters.

Talmage's book list on presidential biographies

Talmage Boston Why did Talmage love this book?

Although Nixon has been our most disgraced president, pre-Trump, he (like LBJ) is a marvelously complicated study of a person with major strengths and weaknesses, and a refusal to be defeated by any obstacles or setbacks. Thomas is discerning in his understanding of what made his subject tick—which is quite an achievement.

By Evan Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The landmark New York Times bestselling biography of Richard M. Nixon, a political savant whose gaping character flaws would drive him from the presidency and forever taint his legacy. 

“A biography of eloquence and breadth . . . No single volume about Nixon’s long and interesting life could be so comprehensive.”—Chicago Tribune

One of Time’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Year

In this revelatory biography, Evan Thomas delivers a radical, unique portrait of America’s thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, a contradictory figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. One of the principal architects of the modern Republican Party…


Book cover of Gerald R. Ford: The 38th President, 1974-1977

Scott Kaufman Author Of Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party: A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford

From my list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 16 years old, my father, Burton Kaufman, who is also a historian, took me to the Jimmy Carter Library in Georgia to help him research a book on America's thirty-ninth president. Having had a love of history since the sixth grade, that trip deepened my desire to major in History in college and teach it as a profession. It also made me interested in learning more about the presidency, starting with Carter. Several years ago, I edited a series of essays on both the Ford and Carter presidencies, and realized there was need for an in-depth political biography of our thirty-eighth chief executive. The result was my book on Ford.

Scott's book list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford

Scott Kaufman Why did Scott love this book?

There are a number of studies of Ford’s presidency, but there are two reasons why I picked Brinkley’s. First, his was the first book published following Ford’s passing and, consequently, the first full biography of the thirty-eighth president. Second, Gerald R. Ford is part of a series on the presidents published by The New York Times that are specifically aimed at a general audience. While each of the books is short and, therefore, selective insofar as coverage, they are well-written and informative.

By Douglas G. Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gerald R. Ford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis

When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.

Many people today think…


Book cover of Personal History

Fran Hauser Author Of Embrace the Work, Love Your Career: A Guided Workbook for Realizing Your Career Goals with Clarity, Intention, and Confidence

From my list on helping women find fulfillment in their career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my career, I’ve always been passionate about leveling the playing field for women. I do this through my writing, speaking, and investing. Much of my current work is informed by the 20 years I spent in corporate as both an executive and a mentor to hundreds of women. ​The books I’ve chosen for this list are written by women I admire and who espouse similar approaches to the way I lead and show up at work. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Fran's book list on helping women find fulfillment in their career

Fran Hauser Why did Fran love this book?

Personal History is Katharine Graham’s memoir. She became the first female Fortune 500 CEO when she took over at The Washington Post. From having Warren Buffet as a mentor to presiding over The Washington Post during Watergate, her life was absolutely fascinating. There is so much to learn about leading, women’s empowerment, and how we show up at work through Graham’s journey. What makes this book unique, though, is that in addition to being a classic in the women’s leadership genre, it’s as juicy and riveting as your best suspense novel.

By Katharine Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Personal History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As seen in the new movie The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep, here is the captivating, inside story of the woman who piloted the Washington Post during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of American media.

In this bestselling and widely acclaimed memoir, Katharine Graham, the woman who piloted the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, tells her story - one that is extraordinary both for the events it encompasses and for the courage, candour and dignity of its telling.

Here is the awkward child who grew up…


Book cover of Watergate: A New History

James M. Banner Jr. Author Of Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to Today

From James' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Historian Institution-creator Political activist Outraged citizen

James' 3 favorite reads in 2023

James M. Banner Jr. Why did James love this book?

This is the best book on the first great American political crisis of recent memory. It’s unlikely ever to be surpassed. 

Its author, an experienced journalist, offers up almost 700 pages of propulsively brisk prose about the astonishing corruption, amateurishness, and stunning incompetence of the presidential administration of Richard Nixon. Even for someone who knows much of the scandal, it’s revelatory.

Were the book’s characters for real? Why did such a natively intelligent president fall prey to such destructive paranoia and surround himself with such fools?

Read as an adventure story, the book equals such rip-snorting classics as Treasure Island, such noir novels as the best of Raymond Chandler, and such comedies as those of the preposterous ones of P. G. Wodehouse. Hard to put down, it’s as close to being definitive as possible. Unfortunately, it remains timely.  

By Garrett M. Graff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Watergate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Garrett Graff, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Plane in the Sky, comes the first definitive narrative history of Watergate-"the best and fullest account of the crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)-exploring the full scope of the scandal through the politicians, investigators, journalists, and informants who made it the most influential political event of the modern era.

In the early hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard named Frank Wills entered six words into the log book of the Watergate office complex that would change the course of history:…


Book cover of Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World

Judy Sheer Watters Author Of The Road Home

From my list on memorable memoirs that speak to you.

Why am I passionate about this?

As bedtime stories, I told our children my personal stories of life on a Pennsylvania farm with a city-slicker father who yearned to be a successful farmer. Growing up in a Jewish orphanage in the early 1900s, he dreamed of someday owning a farm and breathing the fresh air of the country. So many funny stories from the farm encouraged our children to say “Tell me a story when you were little, Mommy,” every night. I decided to write these down and they became my first memoir The Road Home. I love memoir and through my YouTube channel, I encourage others to “Write Your Story for Your Generations to Come.”

Judy's book list on memorable memoirs that speak to you

Judy Sheer Watters Why did Judy love this book?

When I heard Ginny Dent Brant interviewed about her books, I couldn’t wait to purchase them for myself. Finding True Freedom recounts Ginny’s uncertain days of watching her father’s passion for politics. (Lots of well-documented info about his and others’ involvement in Watergate.) But Harry Dent experienced a conversion and left politics for the mission field of Romania. I wouldn’t normally read a book about politics; however, I highly recommend Finding True Freedom as it was a page-turner for me and taught me that true freedom is not the easiest to find, especially in highly charged Washington politics.

By Ginny Dent Brant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding True Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1960s Harry Dent entered political service for love of
country and liberty. Highly successful, Dent became known
as the “Southern Strategist” who helped Nixon win the
United States presidency.
When the Watergate scandal broke and Dent was accused,
his efforts at propagating American freedom seemed wasted.
But Dent was found to be “more of an innocent victim than
the perpetrator.” He could not deny God’s grace: Dent and
Henry Kissinger were the only two of Nixon’s staff not given
prison sentences.
In 1978 Harry Dent embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ
that his daughter Ginny had faithfully lived…


Book cover of Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators

Mónica Ramírez Chimal Author Of Don't Let Them Wash, Nor Dry!: A Simple and Easy Guide to Protect Your Company from the Risk of Money Laundering

From my list on tackling money laundering risk.

Why am I passionate about this?

The prevention of money laundering caught my attention, and at that time, with so little information on the market, I decided to write my first book so that more people can protect themselves from this crime. I have a gift: explain complicated topics in an easy way. This has helped me to write several articles on different topics in international magazines. I’m a passionate-effective trainer who believes that helping people to grow helps to make this world better. It’s my legacy! I like to do the right thing; take this as a reliable fact: I consult my own book and articles written. I hope to help you grow too!

Mónica's book list on tackling money laundering risk

Mónica Ramírez Chimal Why did Mónica love this book?

This book is a comprehensive guide to US regulations regarding money laundering; it also mentions some international organisms that fight against this crime. By including real-life cases in which it is specified how money laundering was carried out, I learned a lot because money laundering is a complex crime, believe me! It’s ideal for those who also want to know how a financial investigation is carried out since it takes you by the hand to understand what to do. Without a doubt a very complete guide.

By John Madinger, Sydney A Zalopany,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Money Laundering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The crime of money laundering is widespread, not only figuring in obvious cases such as Al Capone's, but in major events as diverse as the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and the Watergate scandal.

Money Laundering gives law enforcement professionals a clear understanding of money laundering practices, legislation, and investigation.
Two frontline investigators - a narcotics investigator/supervisor, and a special agent for the IRS - have co-authored this authoritative study.

Case studies establish a historic perspective on Money Laundering, and the progressive changes in its methods through the years. For today's investigator, the authors also take a broad approach to forfeiture, financial…