HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS: The Untold and Dramatic Story of the Rodino Committee by Howard Fields

HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS: The Untold and Dramatic Story of the Rodino Committee

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Those not collecting every journal, novel, and memoir of the Nixon fall can do without Fields' work. A UPI correspondent who covered the House impeachment hearings, Fields writes in a style barely distinguishable from that of a UPI-AP teletype. Like news copy, sentences are flat and paragraphs short and choppy. Silly, hackneyed expressions like ""Catch 22"" turn up all too often, along with such Ford Administration jargon as ""survivability."" In concentrating, moreover, on the inner history of the Rodino Committee, Fields' study predictably lacks balance; he has all but ignored the role of others--notably Special Prosecutor Jaworski--in bringing Nixon down. True, Rodino handled the impeachment proceedings in a thorough and even-handed fashion, as Fields (and everyone else) argues. But Nixon's ouster, following the initial press and grand-jury probing, owed as much or more to occurrences outside as within the House Office Buildings. Still, Fields does provide some new information: the Rodino panel and its staff divided over the work of special counsel Doar and what some felt to be his over-laborious preparation of the indictments. Such factionalism within a committee is not uncommon, however, and it may be that Fields is being unfair to Doar (among others). Granted, neither of the other two works that deal extensively with the House during the crisis--Elizabeth Drew's Washington Journal and Jimmy Breslin's How the Good Guys Finally Won--matches his account in detail, and both suffer from a first-person (""then we had lunch"") style. Yet both are clearly superior: they are more fluently written and more inclusive of the whole sorry event. Fields' effort will appeal only to future researchers or the most afflicted Watergate addict.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1978
Publisher: Norton