In This Review

Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate
Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate
By Bob Woodward
Simon & Schuster, 1999, 592 pp.

Woodward's book describes how every post-Watergate presidency has been shaped by new questions of scandal and by new styles of scandal inquiry. Such wide reflections have stimulated Woodward to produce his best work in recent years, one with much improved citation of sources, that should also interest readers of Foreign Affairs. First, Shadow illustrates how Ronald Reagan's emotional, willful commitment to certain foreign policies blinded him to domestic consequences that nearly destroyed his presidency in the Iran-contra affair -- and it shows how Chief of Staff Howard Baker honorably led the rescue. Second, Woodward contends that in early January 1991, while diplomacy was still under way to prevent Desert Storm, George Bush nevertheless warned his advisers that "We have to have a war," an understanding that National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft knew could not be made public. Third, Woodward offers evidence that health problems affected Bush's performance in his last year and possibly Reagan as well. Fourth, he argues that Clinton's recent foreign policies, including Kosovo and the Middle East peace talks at Wye, are worryingly influenced by Clinton's self-described "personal journey of atonement" from the Lewinsky scandal.