• The 38th President

  • A Watergate Novel
  • By: Paul Wonnacott
  • Narrated by: Philip Benoit
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Watergate could have turned out quite differently. In this novel, it does. The story is told by a fictitious White House official who becomes entangled in a web of bribery, blackmail, arson, and espionage. He conspicuously fails to follow his own good advice: Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Washington Post.

After the fact, history may seem preordained, but it is not. At the beginning of Nixon’s second term in 1973, who would have thought that, if Nixon were driven from office, Gerry Ford would become president?

In this novel, the wheel of fortune takes another turn. The 38th president is not Gerry Ford.

©2008 Paul Wonnacott (P)2021 Paul Wonnacott

What listeners say about The 38th President

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Compelling, Especially for the Watergate Junkie

The 38th President is a fascinating listen for any Watergate junkie, and succeeds where many alternate histories do not: It’s grounded in fact and takes plausible alternate turns in the plot.

The excellent narration by Philip Benoit keeps the story moving forward. It sets exactly the right tone, weaving the threads together with a steady pulse. I’m familiar with much of Benoit’s previous work and note that this is his particular strength – weaving a fabric of believability that envelopes the reader in the world of the story.

I can’t say more without giving away important plot points of the book, but let it suffice to say that the narration of the “everyman” (a presidential aide) drawn into an extraordinary situation remains believable and compelling throughout.

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Getting what you paid for( in so many ways)

Let's start off by noting that this title was listed as SciFi. I suppose alternative political history qualifies, but it's a stretch to be sure.
That said, this is an interesting, if not a bit slow-moving, tale of political intrigue and Watergate-related history all wrapped up in a slightly alternative timeline.
The characters, the plot arcs, and the overall theme are well researched, believable and interesting ( particularly to students of the Watergate era White House ).
That said, it is also slow at times, and the performer, who generally brings more drama to his work, does a very dry reading of the story.
I enjoyed it, but I suspect that only true Watergate buffs, and political fiction fans, will get a kick out of this one. Give it a limited recommendation.

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A very interesting alternate history

A fine work of historical fiction, well researched. The narration isn't so great, however, with mispronounced names and other things, as well as no tone or inflection.

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  • Turquelblue
  • 01-21-22

Done to death by slanderous tongues ..we

As the author lies to open each chapter with an erudite quotation, my review does the same.
I was in my 20's when Watergate came to light. I had more important things going on in my life then but have subsequently listened to All the Presidents Men and The Final Days written by Woodward and Bernstein who broke the scandal in the Washington Post. If you want the facts then get both books rather than this hotchpotch.
I have 2 observations on books like this:
If you are going to write a counterfactual. set it a long time ago.
Distinguished academics make terrible writers of fiction. C.P. Snow is possibly one exception. In true academic style the author even cites references in his appendix .
Narration is monotone and lacking any attempt to add colour to the text.