Tuesday, February 28, 2012


by Thomas Mallon
Pantheon, 2012. 429 pgs. Fiction.

After all these years, Thomas Mallon's novel provides us with an artful and totally unexpected reason for the missing 18 1/2 minutes on the Oval Office tapes that would bring down the Nixon presidency. And even though he adds characters, makes up dialogue, and moves his characters about on a chessboard of his own making, the story rings true. Minor characters play major roles here or are played upon by the nation-changing circumstances that explode from the discovery of and subsequent cover-up of "a third-rate burglary." What happens in these pages takes place some distance from Senator Ervin's Hearing Room and tangential, totally fictional, and historically significant characters mingle in a rich mix of high drama, desperation, irony, sardonic laughs, sorrow, and tenderness. One of the best books of 2012 so far.


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