Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President's Men (Simon & Schuster, 1974)
Reissued by Simon & Schuster in hardcover for its 25th anniversary in 1999
All the President's Men is a terrific read and a must for Hercules Poirot fans and political buffs alike.
Starting with Woodward being woken up by a phonecall from The Washington Post at 9 a.m. on a Saturday in June of 1972 telling him that there had been a burglary at the Democratic headquarters, the book traces the uncovering of the Nixon administration's illegal espionage activities. Written in the form of a detective novel, the story is unfolded page by page as the reporters detail their own (and that of other news organizations) investigation, triumphs and downfalls. The last piece falls into place only towards the end and readers are kept on a hook throughout this fast-paced book.
It's an excellent read for anyone and a must-read for journalists. The dogged persistence of the two reporters in getting the details, their relationship of trust with their editors and the sheer commitment to getting a solid story is a huge learning lesson for any journalist, whether a novice or an old hand. For instance, the two reporters had made an informal rule that all information would be confirmed by three different sources; if either of them had a doubt, the story would not get into the paper, no matter how "hot" it was; making and maintaining sources (no one can ever forget Deep Throat); and always playing fair and giving enough opportunity and space to respond to the person they were going to nail. All the President's Men also gives readers an inside look at a newsroom and captures the excitement and pressures of deadline reporting and the competition and camraderie that exists among reporters in any newsroom.
The New York Times Book Review listed the book as an Editors' Choice and called it an "All together fascinating story of the painstaking investigative journalism that chinked the watergate stone wall."
Media Relations Central's assessment of the book