WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN: LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF WATERGATE by Alicia C. Shepard (John Wiley & Sons), 288 pages, $29.99 cloth. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Once upon a time Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were great investigative reporters.
When they were young and hungry and fairly new to the Washington Post, the two teamed up to peel away the layers of rot surrounding the Nixon White House. Their gumshoe reporting became the stuff of books and movies and the dreams of young journalists everywhere.
Woodward And Bernstein: Life In The Shadow Of Watergate, by Alicia Shepard, is a fun exploration of the twisting paths the two took from their relentless pursuit of Nixon's deepest secrets to the revelation 30 years later of the identity of their super-confidential source, Deep Throat.
This odd couple of investigative journalism Woodward the meticulous Republican, Bernstein the dogged bohemian together with their editors stared down the most powerful men in the world. Shepard does a fine job of recapping the drama at the Washington Post, when the two young journalists, nearly alone among the American press, clawed their way closer to the heart of the presidency.
While the criminal conspiracy unravelled, Woodstein, as the duo were dubbed, managed to write one of the greatest pieces of reportage in publishing history, All The President's Men.
After the Nixon presidency collapsed in disgrace and scandal, the two 20-something hacks found themselves feted as heroes of democracy, with growing bank accounts.
The book follows the hard-partying Bernstein from one career flop to another. The low point of his celebrity was his very public divorce from author Nora Ephron, who was humiliated by her husband's equally public affair with the wife of the British ambassador.
Woodward fared much better financially than his buddy, becoming a bestselling author who traded crusading journalism for access to power.
For what they did in the early 1970s, Woodstein have earned a well-deserved place among the greats of journalism.