NEW YORK — Bob Woodward's next book is a portrait of the White House aide who disclosed that President Richard Nixon had been secretly taping his Oval Office conversations, Alexander Butterfield.
"The Last of the President's Men" will be published Oct. 13, Simon & Schuster announced Thursday. The book draws upon 46 hours of interviews with Butterfield, along with thousands of documents, "many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries." The publisher is calling the book "a stunning story of the mysterious and under-appreciated relationship between Nixon and Butterfield."
"There's more to the story of Nixon," Butterfield, 89, said in a statement issued through Simon & Schuster, which added that Butterfield "opened his secret archive of documents at Woodward's request, and then spent a year telling dozens of new, never before published anecdotes and incidents."
Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein became famous for their investigative work on the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's resignation. His downfall was ensured when Butterfield stunned the country by testifying during the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973 that Nixon had installed a White House taping system. Butterfield was one of the few people who knew of the taping and had helped Nixon operate the system, which contained thousands of hours of conversations, beginning in 1971.
During what became his last year in office, Nixon resisted subpoenas from special prosecutors demanding that he turn over the tapes, claiming he had "executive privilege." In July 1974, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 against Nixon and the tapes revealed that he had attempted to block an FBI investigation of the incident which started the scandal: the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington.
Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974. By that time, Butterfield was head of the Federal Aviation Administration, where he remained until 1975. He was not implicated in the Watergate cover-up and was never charged with any crimes.
"The Last of the President's Men," its title referring to the Woodward-Bernstein Watergate-era best-seller "All the President's Men," is Woodward's first new book since "The Price of Politics" three years ago and a departure from much of his recent work. Throughout the George W. Bush administration and into Obama's first term, he turned out behind-the-scenes accounts every two years focused on the current president. His books, often No. 1 best-sellers, include "Bush at War," ''Plan of Attack" and "Obama's Wars."