THE ENDS OF POWER by H. R. with Joseph DiMona Haldeman
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H. R. Haldeman, as the world now knows, tells all and proves virtually nothing but the crumminess of everyone concerned in this glazed and wooden account of Watergate and after. Nixon, he thinks, spurred strong-arm Colson to push Hunt and Liddy--abetted by weakling Magruder--""to get the goods"" on Larry O'Brien's connection with Howard Hughes (who, indirectly, may have caused him ""to lose two elections""). According to this scheme of things, the Democrats let the break-in occur (to shame the GOP--shame, shame) and the CIA--in the person of suddenly inexpert James McCord--probably sabotaged it (to defuse Nixon's threat to CIA independence). Similar reasoning from weakness leads Haldeman to finger mechanically inept Nixon as the one who erased the critical [8(apple) minutes from the June 20, 1972, tapes; he was trying, by fits and starts, to erase all the Watergate talk, and gave up. The answer to ""Who Is Deep Throat?"" is, if anything, even more conjectural. As for the foreign policy disclosures, they turn out to be either public knowledge (the aborted 1970 Russian base in Cuba) or, at best, highly exaggerated (the prospective US-Soviet strike against Chinese nuclear plants). What is undeniably of some keyhole interest is the spectacle of the conspirators thrashing about like vaudeville comics to cover themselves; the cartoon-style personalities of these Executive Officers; and, more consequentially, their thought processes--beginning with Haldeman's own stuffy, blinding arrogance. To him, bombing Cambodia in secret was justified because knowledge would have triggered American protests. ""Why should the Commander-in-Chief, Kissinger, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, be overruled by a private citizen who disagreed, and leaked secrets to the press?"" No wonder there isn't a hero, fallen or otherwise, in sight. These bozos can only cry foul when they're not, still, pleading ignorance.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1978
Publisher: Times Books