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Publisher's Summary

Richard Nixon said he wanted administration to be "the best chronicled in history". But when Alexander Butterfield disclosed the existence of a voice-activated tapind system to a Senate committee in July 1973, Nixon's White House and its recordings quickly became the most infamous in American history. Only 60 hours were actually made public in the 1970s. Many thousands of hours remained secret and Nixon's hands, and he fought fiercely to keep them that way right up to his death. Finally, thanks to a lawsuit brought by historian Stanley I. Kutler with advocacy group Public Citizen, a landmark 1996 settlement with the Nixon estate and the National Archives is bringing over 3,000 hours of tapes to light.

Packed with revelations, Abuse of Power offers a spellbinding portrait of raw power and a Shakespearean depiction of a King and his court. Now, in this dramatic reconstruction of the tapes, the personalities of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Haig, Kissinger, and Dean are vividly captured in their own words. Finally, the full story of Nixon's downfall can be told.

©1997 Stanley I Kutler (P)2009 Phoenix Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Abuse of Power

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good cast of characters for this reenactment

First, William Windom's surname is misspelled. I hope someone will correct that one day. Second, he does a great job as Nixon. I've heard the actual tapes but could not always understand what was said. I'm glad they recreated the text so listeners can follow every word, still a chore given Nixon's verbal ping-ponging. So many actors have played Nixon over the past few years. I won't forget Frank Langella in the film version of the Nixon/Frost interviews. WW will leave his mark on this acting legacy as well.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A legal train-wreck I have to gaze at

Nixon is an all-time favorite non-fiction character for me. There is no end to all his facets and defects, all bundled up in one super-ambitious person bound to achieve greatly in the very moment he crashes and burns. He is a sort of everyman, if every man was a hard-drinking bright paranoid lawyer, playing manic 'roid-laced poker with politics, human careers, lives and national destinies, unable to stop self-destructing amidst seat-of-the-pants cliffhanger episodes all through. He wails and lashes out, but always with a touch of arch-lawyerly cleverness. He constructs plausible stories (and perjuries) on the fly, all phrased in mom-apple-pie-Americana window dressing, out of hopeless losing situations, prompting his cronies while trying to buck them up and prevent their jumping ship. One by one, they do, peeling away into court and congressional hearings, and they instantly become the new demons and enemies to be "destroyed." The voices here are actors, well-done, but the script is verbatim from the White House tapes. I like nothing better than to curl up on a chilly night and listen to Nixon conniving mentally-aloud with his (latest set of) cronies to extricate himself in underhanded fashion from the complex puzzles he has stumbled into. Call me crazy that way. He is really coming unraveled toward the end. I can't not listen in.
The listener should already be familiar with the basics of the Watergate story, to fully enjoy this.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Listen to the dominoes fall

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The "dramatizing" of this material makes it easier to comprehend and reveals clearly the events, words and act that resulted in Nixon's political and personal downfall.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The actor who portrays Nixon captures the essence of the tapes. He crystallizes excerpts from the tapes, which in print can come off as cryptic and confusing,

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Nixon

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

After studying Watergate, reading a number of books and articles, I finally have a clear idea of the scope of the issue - the number of people involved, the amount of time Nixon spent attempting to quash the issue and how easily Nixon was willing to sellout his most loyal staffers.

Any additional comments?

A great listen.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent dramatization of the Watergate tapes

William Windom plays the quintessential Richard Nixon, bringing our 37th president to life. His work is the key ingredient that holds this work together. The other two main actors (Dukes and Ackroyd) have to play various parts, which can be confusing at times (I.e. who they are playing). To their credit they do their best and I believe carry their own.

Performances aside, the book itself is an excellent, if incomplete, account of the Watergate scandal. I have listened to it multiple times and each run through I pick up details that I missed before. I highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

We see more of the man Nixon was.

Where does Abuse of Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Rather good, but not in my top ten.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nixon. The actor does a good job portraying him.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

The actor who played Nixon and Kissinger. Both are great with accents.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

A must-have for history and Watergate fans.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I was hoping for better

The audible version of this book is somewhat disappointing: the characters are actors, which is surprising since, to the best of my knowledge, clean and digitized versions of the tapes are available. The actor playing Nixon is especially bad, he speaks much faster and is accent is very different. The other actors are not much better.
The tapes, fascinating in the beginning, become redundant after awhile. Nevertheless, it is an amazing piece of history, and in spite of the audio's shortcomings, I would still buy it again.

2 people found this helpful