For students of political science, this is a highly relevant, well-documented study that unfortunately doesn’t encompass the...



An update to the 1974 report Responses of the Presidents to Charges of Misconduct, examining the ethical conduct of the presidencies since then—including Richard Nixon’s but not Donald Trump’s.

Compiled with the same urgency as the previous study in response to “a grave threat” of constitutional crisis (unnamed but understood), this work offers a comparative gauge on executive misdeeds, rigorously defined as “responses of the president, on his part or on the part of his subordinates, to charges of misconduct that was alleged to be illegal and for which offenders would be culpable.” Editor Banner (Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History, 2012, etc.) contributed to the original report. Restrained, “self-contained,” and offering the facts without interpretation, the essays—up to Nixon’s, they are the versions originally published in 1974—make for rather dry but informative reading. While the administration of George Washington set the gold standard for ethical behavior, at that time, regard for the law was rigidly codified, and partisan politics were just beginning to take shape. Starting with John Quincy Adams’ tenure, historian Richard Ellis introduces the worrisome aspects of “the power of special-interest groups, the corruptness of politicians, the need to make government more responsive to the popular will, and the country’s general moral decay.” Andrew Jackson’s administration is generally blamed for the introduction of the “spoils systems,” and Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation of “unsurpassed corruption” by subordinates has been challenged by historians. Warren Harding’s reputation is considered to be one of the most tainted (outside of Nixon’s), in terms of cronyism and greed. The George W. Bush administration's erosion of laws protecting civil liberties gets a rather light treatment, while Barack Obama’s chapter, written by Allan J. Lichtman, is dominated by “pseudo-scandals” invented by his opponents.

For students of political science, this is a highly relevant, well-documented study that unfortunately doesn’t encompass the countless scandals of the current administration.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-549-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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