DEEP TRUTH by Adrian Havill


The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
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 It's a rule of thumb that journalists tend to run for cover when under scrutiny--and the high-profile media icons who won The Washington Post a Pulitzer for their Watergate reporting are apparently no exceptions to the rule. Indeed, both Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein refused to assist Havill (The Last Mogul, 1992) in his inquiries for the exhaustively researched, if gossipy, profiles at hand. Havill has amassed a wealth of dirt-dishing detail that allows him to put an essentially unfavorable spin on his subjects' personal and professional lives. Having traced the diverse paths by which they reached the nation's capital, he chips away at the collaboration that helped drive Richard Nixon from the White House and make the pair rich and world-famous. Among other matters, Havill concludes that Deep Throat was a composite, and that Woodward and Bernstein didn't let inconvenient facts stand in the way of good stories in either All the President's Men or its sequel, The Final Days. In some cases, Havill's charges seem trivial--e.g., that all but one of the workaholic Woodward's books have grown from someone else's ideas. On balance, though, the author raises persuasive doubts about the literary license taken by both Woodward and Bernstein in such texts as Wired, Veil, and Loyalties. Nor, apparently, are the aging Wunderkinder particularly admirable in other pursuits. Pilloried in ex-wife Nora Ephron's Heartburn, Bernstein is portrayed as satisfying his love of wine, women, and song only at the cost of his considerable writing talent. By contrast, the ambitious, thrice-wed Woodward (who was taken in by Janet Cooke and her fabricated tale of a preteen heroin addict) emerges as a steel-willed control freak more proficient at currying favor than cultivating adult relationships. An intriguing take on fourth-estate paragons who appear better able to cast stones than to fend them off. (Photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55972-172-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993


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