MOUNT VERNON — “Watergate” by Thomas Mallon is the featured selection for the Adult Book Discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon.
Four decades have passed since five bungling burglars were arrested in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., indelibly contaminating a luxurious commercial and residential complex with the stink of political corruption, and providing a scandal-infused suffix to every subsequent foray into questionable behavior (Irangate, Monicagate, anyone?).
Mallon blends history and speculation effectively in recalling those frenzied days of the Dictabelt, the smoking gun, hush money, the Saturday Night Massacre, the Enemies List, Deep Throat, CREEP, and “expletive deleted.” But Mallon has rotated the cast of characters, pulling some stars out of the limelight while raising others to new prominence. Henry Kissinger barely creeps around the edges of the story, while Fred LaRue surges to importance, trying to protect the president while saving his own soul.
Richard Nixon himself is portrayed discerningly, at the same time baffled by his critics while focused on constructing his future reputation. But the real story of “Watergate” is the stories of the women involved — Martha Mitchell, the erratic wife of the attorney general; Rose Mary Woods, the president’s ferociously loyal secretary; and Pat Nixon, the novel’s tragic heroine. But all these women are outshone by the hilariously acid-tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who unerringly makes fools of everyone she encounters.
The discussion will be led by Tim Kahrl of the History Department of the Ohio State University, Mansfield. Copies of “Watergate” can be checked out of the public library; or purchased at Paragraphs Bookstore, 229 S. Main St., or Colonial Book Shop and Kids’ Shelf, 521 S. Main St., both in Mount Vernon.
The book discussions, sponsored by the Adult Services Department of the public library, are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
For more information call 392-2665, ext. 243.
Published on November 16, 2012