THE SECRET MAN BY Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward wrote the manuscript to The Secret Man months before Mark Felt and his family decided to reveal his role in Watergate to the world. He did it because he knew that Mark Felt’s health was failing and wanted to be prepared to tell the story when Felt passed away. He did it because he wanted to document his relationship with Deep Throat for history. He did it in advance because, like Carl Bernstein said, Bob Woodward "is prone to complete his homework before it is due or even assigned.”
I did learn new things about Deep Throat from this brief, 230 page book. I learned (and you may have already known this) that Woodward met Felt back in the 1960s when Woodward was in the Navy and was waiting outside the situation room at the White House. Felt came up and sat down to wait beside him, and Woodward struck up a conversation. Woodward was shameless, trying to learn who Felt was and why he was there. When he couldn’t get Felt to talk about that, he started asking for career advice – and their strange friendship was born.
I didn’t know that Felt had once been asked under oath by a grand juror if he was Deep Throat. He denied it, and then was saved from the obvious perjury when the attorney asked that the question be withdrawn. Can you believe that?
The book shows us Mark Felt as he is today, kindly in his nature and suffering from profound memory loss. He doesn’t remember Watergate. He doesn’t remember Pat Gray, his former boss at the FBI. But he does remember Bob Woodward and thinks of him as a friend.
Not earthshaking, but for those of us who have always wondered, it is the final chapter on this fascinating book. The Secret Man by Bob Woodward. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I’m Amanda Dickson.