Kevin Stevens at the Dublin Review of Books:
Why, from the get-go, did Nixon do the very thing that could bring him down? Why didn’t he condemn the burglary, claim he knew nothing about it (which was factually true), and fire those responsible? He had the nation on his side. He had worked well with Congress. He was odds-on favourite to win a second term. With Henry Kissinger, he had set a foreign policy agenda of unprecedented ambition: that February, he’d been the first US president to visit the People’s Republic of China and in May he was the first president to set foot in Moscow. Vietnam notwithstanding, he had created a legacy of international success that he believed would make him one of history’s great peacemakers. He had much to lose.
Yet as two new books on Watergate make clear, the cover-up was inevitable. The break-in was not a one-off but simply the latest in a string of illegal activities that Nixon’s team had sanctioned, planned, funded and kept secret, all at the behest of the president. The DNC burglary had to be kept dark because any light shed on its genesis would illuminate four years of dirty tricks.