WASHINGTON JOURNAL: A Diary of the Events of 1973-1974 by Elizabeth Drew

WASHINGTON JOURNAL: A Diary of the Events of 1973-1974

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'The path to tyranny,' my friend said, 'can be undramatic.'"" Washington reporter Drew's journal, which appeared in The New Yorker, records the months in between the removal of Vice-President Agnew and the resignation of the President; it consists of Drew's conversations with named and unnamed legislators, lawyers, journalists and the inevitable cabdriver, as well as her front-bench view of the deliberations on impeachment. During the fall of 1973, the journal centers around the reactions of Congress and the media to the accumulation of material on the Watergate coverup and other Nixon activities. ""I do not think of myself as a terribly orderly person,"" writes Drew. ""The idea that I am more orderly than the people running my country is disconcerting."" And ""one must have a taste for people who recognize limits,"" a taste Nixon lacked. Drew is not an investigative reporter but an observer, skilled interviewer and writer of ""personal"" collages. The journal is spliced with news of the off shortage, which Drew believes to be genuine and to be separate from Nixon. She does think it odd that Congress put through Gerald Ford so meekly as Vice-President while mistrusting his capacities. After accompanying Nixon on a nationwide tour where he did things like play ""God Bless America"" on the piano, Drew follows the impeachment drive itself as it gains momentum. She calls the committee proceedings ""the most exciting political debate I have ever heard. . . these people are drawing on history, attaching themselves to it, and becoming part of it""; she commends the ""dignity and fairness"" of chairman Peter Rodino, whom she describes as receiving nightly coaching from John Doar. Finally Nixon takes off from the capital in a helicopter, for good, and the journal ends. ""The important thing is not the number of people who think what at any given moment,"" Drew writes, ""but the relative power and momentum of ideas."" Few can be indifferent to the questions implicitly and explicitly raised here.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1975
Publisher: Random House