Mo : A Woman’s View of Watergate by Maureen Dean

Mo : A Woman’s View of Watergate by Maureen Dean
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Political
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Maureen Dean’s experience of Watergate centers on what clothing to wear according to the configurations of the stars (though she says she doesn’t exactly believe in astrology), and how a woman can spend time alone with her increasingly preoccupied, sleepless, and near-alcoholic husband. It is the extreme “”Penelope”” view. One she regrets in hindsight, for Maureen thinks the Watergate cover-up could never have become so dense if only the Nixon men had confided in their–presumably more moral–wives. As it was, what else was there for her to do but worry about knit dresses as she followed the incommunicado John Dean from Key Biscayne to San Clemente to Las Vegas to Camp David on the peregrinations that were supposed to save a government but finally toppled it? No one in politics talked to her, except politely, as a duty, or crudely, as a tomato; the power sincerely bores her; she thinks the pomp is childish–she’d rather be alone with her husband. Her book is actually a love paean to John Dean whom Mo sees as witty, supportive, loving and principled (we have to take it on faith since in this busy period he was rarely around); the “”collapsing world”” she is forever talking about is her home and expectations, not the country which she’s glad is purged of Nixon. It is a sentimental book by the unliberated housewife, but then, bourgeois sentiment may be a better emotion than the lust for power among those who ran the country: we cannot depend on nightwatchmen with astute eyes to catch all our criminals.

One woman’s view of the whole Watergate ‘thing’ and how it affected her life.

I call Watergate a ‘thing’ because it’s more like a moving, crawling being in this book. It’s a looming monster and it takes a strong person to withstand such events. Maureen Dean is one of those people. I blew through this book in the matter of a few hours and loved every second. It was like reading a book by a dear friend or reading their diary. It flowed well and kept me captivated.

Maureen Dean is the wife of John Dean, the man who (among others) blew the lid off the Watergate scandal and helped bring down President Richard Nixon. This book isn’t so much about the case itself, but rather her dealings with the peripherals. How she helped her husband with testimony prep, the fear of being attacked, the confusion over what happened (and what she didn’t know about), and how it all made her life a bit miserable, but she still persevered.

I liked that this wasn’t a strictly political book. There is raw emotion there. She’s not a perfect person, either, and that shines through. That’s what I liked the most about it, her realism and personality.

If you’re looking for a book that’s part politics, part historical but mostly emotional, then this might be the book for you.

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