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10 Best Books on Watergate Scandal (2024)

Watergate Scandal Best BooksThe Watergate Scandal is an event that occurred in the United States in 1972. It is a political scandal that has to do with the Presidential election in 1972 and takes place during and after the same event. One major character involved in the entire mystery is President Richard Nixon, as there is a lot related to him that was later discovered, as you will learn in all of the books listed below.

Watergate Crimes

This scandal involves a few agents from both the CIA and FBI who broke into the offices of the Democratic Party before the election even began. What they did was steal important documents, listen to the phone lines, and a few other crimes. Everything about this mystery was discovered a while later, shocking truths were discovered and you will be stunned to learn about the people who were in on the entire operation.

Who Was Involved?

In the following books that you’re going to have a look at, you will learn that there are many people who were involved in this political scandal. For the sake of not spoiling all the fun, we will leave the juicy parts for you to uncover. However, we can mention that a few crucial parties that were involved in this entire mess include the CIA, FBI, the President himself, George McGovern, and a few more.

Best Books on Watergate Scandal

All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein


The Discovery of Two Journalists

All the President’s Men is a 1974 book written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. What makes it one of the best books on the Watergate scandal is the fact that it was written by two journalists who investigated the actual break-in, which happened in 1972, just two years prior to the book’s release. This means that All the President’s Men is also one of the oldest Watergate books out there.

The book follows the reporting of the two journalists, who have posted numerous articles about the event on the Washington Post. The book includes sources and names of individuals that were originally hidden in the articles that the pair wrote, revealing that high-ranking members of the government knew exactly what was going on. Nearly 50 years have passed since the event, but the things that happened then are just as relevant today.

A Story Worthy of a Movie

The book is considered to be the single best piece of reporting on the matter ever, and its captivating and easy-to-follow writing style makes it accessible to a large audience. In 1976, a film with the same name was released, featuring Dustin Hoffman, and portraying everything that was talked about in the book.

The Final Days by Bob Woodward


Reasons for Impeachment

After the amazing success with their first book, the same pair of journalists from the previous book on this list decided to come out with a follow-up, and in 1976, they released the second in their book series about the Watergate scandal, called the Final Days.

As the title suggests, this book is a follow-up to the first one and covers the final months of Richard Nixon’s presidency, his controversial tapes of phone conversations between him, and other members of the administration or family members, as well as the impeachment process against President Nixon.

Interviewing 400 People to Find the Truth

Bernstein and Woodward decided to start working on the book immediately after the president resigned in August 1974. For the creation of the book, they hired two researchers and interviewed nearly 400 people, to get the best picture of the event possible. Every single detail from those interviews was double-checked, and only the information that could be verified from at least two sources made it to the final book.

This is one of the best books about Nixon and Watergate, and you can find out so much about the history of American politics, and realize how some of the problems we are facing today can be traced even as far back as 50 years.

Blind Ambition by John W. Dean


An Unfiltered Story on Watergate

Blind Ambition is easily one of the best-selling Watergate books of all time. It was a New York Times bestseller for a period of six months after its release and is considered to be among the best Watergate books by many people.

As a White House Counsel member for President Nixon between July 1970 and April 1973, John Dean was one of the key witnesses of the Watergate scandal and decided to share his experiences in a book that he created with the help of Taylor Branch, a famous American author, and historian. Since its release in 1976, the book has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and praise for its unfiltered approach to exposing an administration that abused the trust of the American people.

Exposing an Immoral Government

All these years later, John Dean continues to be a voice endorsing transparency and ethics in government and has written other books relating to his past experiences as a White House official, as well as the current state and future of American politics. All of this started from his success with his first-ever book – Blind Ambition, which clearly shows how an immoral government can totally shake the nation that it’s supposed to serve and govern.

The Wars of Watergate by Stanley I. Kutler


How Watergate Came to Be

This book about Watergate is unique in that it starts off by giving the reader a run-down of president Nixon’s history and what events led to him becoming president, and eventually resigning from the position. This includes his early career in the White House, Senate, and eventually as Vice President.

By reading this part of the book, the reader gets a solid perspective on who Richard Nixon was as a politician, and the “tricks” he used to remain relevant in the world of politics in America, even rising to become the most powerful man in the nation. This is without a doubt one of the best history books about Watergate and paints a clear picture to the reader about everything that happened, as well as what led to it.

Diving Deeper Into the Mystery

The Wars of Watergate is a book that is best suited for someone that is already familiar with the basics of what happened and wants to learn a thing or two more that is not often talked about. It also heavily focuses on the things Nixon said in the tapes between 1972 and 1973. In the end, Nixon never apologized for what he did, and simply said that “everyone else does it”.

Personal History by Katharine Graham


The Tale of the Head of the Washington Post

Personal History is an autobiography by Katharine Graham, a member of the family that owned the Washington Post. Even though she doesn’t try to achieve that, her autobiography is still considered among the top Watergate books out there, because she shares her first-hand experience as the head of the famous newspaper that was the leader in covering the Watergate scandal.

As an added bonus, it also includes a personal story of struggle and hardship, as Katharina was trying to assert herself in a profession dominated by men. Aside from her career, she also talks about her personal issues with her father and husband, and what led to her going from a devoted housewife to becoming a major player in American media. In her later years, she also spent a lot of time talking about feminism, and she was in fact responsible for a lot of changes when it comes to women in the workplace.

A Different Perspective

Whether you are interested in Katharine’s personal story or not, if you are interested in learning more about the Watergate scandal, this is one of the best books on Watergate that you can read. If you don’t want to take our word for it, you can read some of the thousands of reviews about the book all over the internet. Having said that, you can hopefully deduct that it’s a very popular book among political enthusiasts.

The Watergate Girl by Jill Wine-Banks


Inside the Watergate Trial

Written by a lawyer who acted as one of the prosecutors in the scandal, the Watergate Girl is one of the best books about the Watergate Scandal that you can read, as it gives you an inside look at the trial, as well as Jill’s battles with sexism at the workplace, obstruction of justice, and plenty of other things in this engaging real tale.

Mrs. Wine-Banks was the only female on the prosecuting team against the highest-ranked White House officials. She was only in her early 30s at the time and was often referred to as the “mini-skirted lawyer” by the media.

Overcoming Difficult Obstacles

Despite having to fight for the respect that her male counterparts easily received, dealing with a failing marriage, and having her private life invaded by constantly being followed and monitored for her involvement in the case, Jill prevailed through it all and managed to share everything that happened regarding the matter in one of the best-rated Watergate books ever.

By reading this book, you will get a solid understanding of what the USA stands for as a country, the importance of the rule of law, and you will also be able to draw many parallels between what’s happening now, and how things worked back in the day.

Watergate by Fred Emery


Listing the Crimes

If you are looking for a fast-paced, comprehensive, and clear presentation about the events, this book by Fred Emery should be among the top Watergate books for you. Despite being easy to read, it still adds plenty of new information about the events and displays the character flaws that led to them.

Emery’s story begins in 1969, at a time when President Nixon was desperate to avoid being a one-time president. This prompted him and his administration to commit plenty of illegalities, eventually leading to the Watergate scandal. Emery delivers this in a very hard-hitting narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire time you’re reading it.

Leaving No Stone Unturned

The book draws its conclusions from the most recently released tapes, analyzing hundreds of unofficial and official documents, as well as lengthy interviews with many of the main participants in the case, including prosecutors and defendants. With Emery’s impressive and informative coverage, you will clear up plenty of uncertainties that you may have about the event and the extent of president Nixon’s involvement.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the Watergate scandal, and anyone who is uncertain about the integrity of the American political system.

The Great Coverup by Barry Sussman


The Fall of a President

Originally released in 1974, the latest edition of the Great Coverup came out in 2010, making it one of the best recent Watergate books. It is considered to be the best account of Richard Nixon’s fall as president, and the Watergate scandal. This book is even recommended by John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, who has said that this is the first book he recommends to anyone.

Exposing Nixon

Sussman, the author of this book, was Washington Post’s leading editor on the Watergate scandal and exposed Nixon’s questionable and often illegal actions. During his time, the CIA was a lot more involved in domestic cases than it usually is, the IRS was very selective in the way they handled their business, with Nixon’s enemies often ending up with the shorter end of the stick, the court system was perhaps at its all-time worst, and plenty of other irregularities.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this book covers. Upon first being published, the Great Coverup was the best-selling book on the Watergate scandal according to the New York Times, and 50 years later, it remains one of the most important pieces of history about American politics.

Watergate by Thomas Mallon


A Watergate Book for Everyone

Thomas Mallon is a renowned historical novelist and critic, whose novels are famous for their attention to historical detail and accuracy, along with the author’s wit and ease in which he is able to convey his message. Mallon is also responsible for one of the most popular Watergate books on the market.

Mallon’s representation of the events is both informative and thought-provoking, but in the author’s true style, still very entertaining, making it ideal for a large audience of readers. It’s a book that simply can’t prove uneventful to anyone interested in learning more about the topic.

40 Years After Watergate

Being that it is also a relatively recent book, released in 2012, it is able to look at things through the scope of what is currently going on in the world, and conclude that not much has changed during all these years, despite many people looking at the Watergate scandal as a distant past that became irrelevant as soon as it ended.

In his book, Mallon re-introduces us to the seven most important characters of the entire event and shares their perspectives on what happened, which helps the reader learn more about them than ever before. The book was praised by many influential people in the socio-political sphere, including Christopher Hitchens.

The Secret Man by Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein


Hearing the Story from the FBI

The final book that finds its way on our list of the best books about Watergate is also the final from the famous pair of journalists that extensively covered the event throughout their life – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. It was released in 2005 and tells the story of Woodward’s complicated and lengthy relationship with W. Mark Felt, the former number 2 man of the FBI.

Learning the Whole Truth

Felt is also the man who ultimately led the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency, so his account of the events is a form of final chapter and closure of Bob and Carl’s lifelong journey of sharing the whole truth about Watergate. This book will not only teach you a whole lot about the scandal itself but also about the importance of using confidential sources with the aim of keeping the general public informed. According to New York Times, this passage about the protection of sources should even be taught in schools.

If you have read any of Bob Woodward’s previous works about Watergate, you will definitely enjoy The Secret Man, as it is the final straw that will connect all the dots and help you understand the scandal and its importance in a complete way.

Michael Englert

Michael is a graduate of cultural studies and history. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and (surprise, surprise) reading. As a small-town librarian, he is currently relishing the silence and peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing.