Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate

From The Christian Science Monitor:Wood

Reading Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate reminded me a lot of attending my high school reunion. For those of us who lived through Watergate (and I certainly qualify — I was 14 the summer of the break-in and 17 the day that Nixon resigned — young and impressionable enough to immediately embrace these two Washington Post reporters as heroes), Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will never lose their fascination. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman didn’t have to play them in the movie for us to understand that these two young strivers (both still under 30) had altered the very culture of journalism in Washington, D.C., bringing to it a scrappy unwillingness to accept “no comment” as the end to a story.

But if Woodward and Bernstein were “the boys” that everyone loved on the crest of Watergate, the succeeding years have not always been as kind. Woodward — who has gone on to pen 11 more books after the two he and Bernstein wrote together on Watergate and Nixon — remains a huge name in journalism and yet weathers frequent criticism for what Shepard calls “a lack of analysis, a dearth of attribution, and a penchant for highly detailed, novelistic re-creations of scenes that were unrecorded, except in the memory of participants.”

Bernstein, who has written two books (one about his parents and another on a pope) and is now working on a third about Hillary Rodham Clinton, is in some ways better known for a messy personal life, including his infamous divorce from Nora Ephron, chronicled in her novel Heratburn. (Dustin Hoffman turned down that film role, uncomfortable at casting a real person in so negative a light.)

More here.