Journalist Bob Woodward to Discuss ‘The Last of the President’s Men’
Dec. 4 campus event to feature conversation between Woodward and Alex Butterfield
Watergate, the botched burglary and subsequent high-level cover-up that paved the way to President Nixon’s resignation, happened more than 40 years ago. With the 2005 disclosure of FBI official Mark Felt as “Deep Throat,” the news source who leaked key details about the break-in, the last chapter on Watergate had been written, or so it seemed.
The release this October of ‘The Last of the President’s Men’ (Simon & Schuster), the new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, reveals that more truths were yet to be told about Watergate and the goings-on at the time in the Nixon White House. Providing essential fodder for the book is former Nixon aide and longtime La Jolla resident Alex Butterfield— “the last of the President’s men” referenced in the book.
Woodward, now an award-winning editor at the Post with 18 books to his credit, will visit UC San Diego on Friday, Dec. 4 to join Butterfield in a discussion of The Last of the President’s Men. The book, which is based on Butterfield’s observations and previously undisclosed documents, casts a new light on Nixon’s psyche and the inner workings of the White House at the time. Butterfield, who worked as an aide to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973, testified that Nixon had installed a secret taping system in the Oval Office, which altered the course of history and precipitated the President’s resignation.
The Dec. 4 event, sponsored by the UC San Diego Library and Helen Edison Lecture Series, is free and open to the public and will take place at 7 p.m. in Price Center East Ballroom on the UC San Diego campus. Tickets must be reserved in advance as seating is limited. A book signing will take place in the adjacent Muir Room following the program. Visit this website to make reservations.
The program will feature Woodward and Butterfield in a discussion moderated by historian Michael Bernstein, Provost at Tulane University, and one of Butterfield’s graduate advisors. Bernstein previously served as dean of Arts & Humanities and professor of history at UC San Diego, during which time he advised Butterfield on his master’s thesis.
‘The Last of the President’s Men’ is the result of some 46 hours of interviews Woodward conducted with Butterfield, and includes a number of newly revealed documents. In the book, Butterfield, now 89, describes the deep ambivalence he had about divulging the White House taping system, Nixon’s private views and frustrations over the Vietnam War, and offers up many recollections—both humorous and sad—that shed light on the President's various neuroses and quirks as well as his more presidential attributes.
Butterfield, who has a master’s degree from George Washington University, was a distinguished Air Force pilot who had flown nearly 100 combat missions over Vietnam before he was appointed as a deputy assistant to President Nixon. He was recruited for the position by H. R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, who he knew from his days as an undergraduate at UCLA. At the time of his testimony to the Senate Watergate committee, he had left the White House and was the top administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Woodward, a reporter for The Washington Post since 1972, was a young cub reporter when he teamed up with the more experienced Carl Bernstein to cover the Watergate break-in. The two men did most of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal that led to numerous government investigations and, ultimately, to the resignation of President Nixon.
A national, best-selling author, Woodward has authored or co-authored non-fiction books on a broad spectrum of political subjects and issues, ranging from the Iraq War and the Supreme Court to the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. His first book, on Watergate, ‘All the President's Men’, was a national best-seller and was published before Nixon resigned in 1974. It was turned into a blockbuster movie two years later.