The Watergate Memoirs of Gordon Walter
edited by Alaric Thistle
So you think you know about Watergate? Not only do you not know everything that went on in the Nixon White House, but you are wrong about some of the things you think you know. Gordon Walter sets the record straight. A Nixon confidant so undercover that his name never appears in a single Watergate reference, Walter ends the cover-up once and for all. What did Chicago have to do with the Watergate burglary? What is the real story behind the notorious 18 ½-minute gap in Nixon’s secret tapes? What last-minute event stopped the US from declaring war on Albania? What other-behind-the-door strategies were hatched and carried through on or abandoned over the years of Nixon’s presidency? Walter knew because he was there and now you can too.
ISBN 978-1-938985-09-6 • 5.5 x 8.5 paperback • 178 pgs • $16.95
“During World War II, Walter met young Lt. Richard Nixon in the Navy. While stationed in the South Pacific, Walter proved his worth by helping Nixon make off with a few cases of an admiral’s whisky for a party. From that moment on,whenever he needed a little covert help behind the scenes, Nixon turned to his old friend. As Nixon’s political career took off, he found himself calling on Walter’s services again and again, especially after he became president. Among other things, Walter secretly oversaw the Plumbers—“a group that we can pin the blame on if things go wrong, so people will have someone and won’t go digging for us”—babysat a deliciously inept Spiro Agnew, helped orchestrate the buildup to a manufactured (ultimately unnecessary) war with Albania and was there throughout the Watergate scandal,which, as Walter explains, was a huge mix-up from the start. As edited by Alaric Thistle, this debut fictional memoir is an uproarious take on the Nixon years as seen from the inside. There are ample laughs throughout the book, but some sections stand out, especially Walter and Agnew’s covert trip to England and Germany to bolster the vice president’s foreign policy–making skills, and Walter’s experience tailing Nixon’s burglars while they attempt to nab Ellsberg’s psychiatric file from his doctor’s office. Walter and Nixon’s imagined plotting lends a humorous slant to real-life historical events, and Walter himself is a great character—wry, licentious but with a stubborn loyal streak. Similarly,Nixon’s voice is captured perfectly: Readers will all but hear his jowly baritone. While the tone is satirical, the high level of historical detail adds a layer of richness. Although bound to amuse even casual readers, those more familiar with the politics, personalities and scandals of the Nixon years are likely to especially appreciate this irreverent take on the era.Sharp, snooping political satire.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Which of these men is not like the others: Chance, the Gardener? Forrest Gump? Gordon Walter? The answer: Gordon Walter. You have to read THE WATERGATE MEMOIRS OF GORDON WALTER to learn about him because his story hasn’t been made into a movie…yet.
Gordon Walter met Richard Nixon while they served together in the Navy in World War II. Walter was one of Lt. Nixon’s few friends, if not the only one, and their relationship lasted, sporadically, for decades. Often many years would pass without any contact. Then Nixon would call Walter because he needed someone to talk to or he needed Walter’s expertise to resolve a problem.
Walter was there during most of the most memorable times of Nixon’s career and served as an advisor and assistant in many situations. For several reasons, he did his work so secretly that most people never knew about him. But he knew about them and about Richard Nixon. He tells all.
In his memoirs, Walter writes about who Nixon was and how he became the man he was. Near the beginning, he tells how when teaching Nixon how to play poker on board the ship, Walter told him how to bluff, to keep secrets. He analyzes why Nixon did not relate to many people on a personal level. “He was the only person I ever met who liked to lie around in his bunk with his tie on and uniform jacket buttoned.” “He could not relate to defeat and did not take it as hard as the next man because he refused to accept that it had happened.”
He explains the facts behind Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers. How Nixon got the evidence. South America. Who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg. Watergate. Why did the Plumbers break into the Democrat Headquarters at the Watergate. When should the press stop pursuing a story. Spiro Agnew. Both of their opinion of unions. Gordon Liddy. George McGovern. Albania and China. The eighteen and a half minute gap in the tape. These are stories you have never heard before.
We read some famous lines, e.g., “Let me make this perfectly clear.” “That would be wrong,” but in a different context.
THE WATERGATE MEMOIRS OF GORDON WALTER also relates how patriotism can be interpreted in different ways by different people, something very timely today. One of my favorite quotes is still relevant: “Why is it that someone who knows nothing can talk for hours about it while a thinker is often at a loss for words?”
After Nixon’s resignation, Walter wrote a manuscript about Nixon’s government career. He showed it to Alaric Thistle but “was struck by a milk truck early one morning and killed” before he could get it published. Thistle decided to finish the job.
Very well written, the book offers not only insight into Richard Nixon’s personality and actions,, but does so in an original, often humorous manner. The humor starts very early and is often rather subtle. Examples: “What’s your name, sailor?” “Flewellynn.” “How do you spell it?” “F as in photographer….” “Since he was magnanimous enough to excuse me for things I hadn’t done, I felt the least I could do would be to excuse him for things he had.”
I had to keep reminding myself that THE WATERGATE MEMOIRS OF GORDON WALTER is a novel.” ♥♥♥♥♥—Judie Amsel on LibraryThing.com
“Not only does this hilarious fictional satire unveil previously unknown secrets regarding what went on behind the plots and plans of the Nixon White House, but it corrects some of the purported truths that have been accepted for decades.” —Fiction Books Blog
“This fictionalized account of Nixon’s secret “fix-it man” is quite humorous and a reminder of some of the worst aspects of this power-hungry man. Not only is the concept quite creative, what was the discussion behind the Ellsberg papers, the South American VP trip, Watergate, etc., but the character of Gordon is a unique CIA type spook voice.” —Goodreads Review
“This is a wonderful work of imagination. for those of us who are old enough to remember the people in this book — Nixon, Agnew, the people who surrounded Nixon — it’s amazingly easy to imagine these conversations . . . in fact, sometimes it seems real enough that I find myself wondering whether what’s really fictional about it is the claim that it’s fictional. a very clever “what if . . . ” or, on the other hand, maybe it really did happen this way.”
— Political Junkie
Cover design by Armen Kojoyian