The Slow Burn podcast on Watergate

Slate’s Slow Burn podcast on Watergate is amazing. As they describe it:

You think you know the story, or maybe you don’t. But Watergate was stranger, wilder, and more exciting than you can imagine. What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down a president?

Join Leon Neyfakh for an eight-episode podcast miniseries that tells the story of Watergate as it happened—and asks, if we were living through Watergate, would we know it?

As advertised, the podcast covers Watergate in a way that feels like you are experiencing it while it was happening rather than simply looking back at an event where you already know the outcome. Not surprisingly, the events of Watergate have some interesting parallels to our current political landscape.

I’ve read Woodward and Bernstein’s books All the President’s Men and The Final Days and find Nixon a fascinating political figure and the podcast covers ground I didn’t know about. I’ve been a bit of a “Watergate junkie” for many years in part because the events of Watergate coincided almost perfectly with my early life. The Watergate break-in itself happened on June 17, 1972, just two days after I was born. The chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee was Sam Ervin, the senator from my home state of North Carolina, and I grew up hearing people talk about him in reverent tones. Ervin was a very particular kind of Southern man that I knew well growing up. He came off as a folksy, down-home grandfather, often referring to himself as “just a country lawyer” without noting that he was actually a Harvard Law graduate. I grew up with lots of similarly-modest people in the South like Ervin who had crushing intellects and I’ve always enjoyed how those people tended to get the best of others who thought they were smarter. Ervin also recorded an album (!) called Senator Sam at Home in which he did readings of popular songs like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and told stories like “Jus’ Right Likker.” You really can’t make this stuff up.

In any case, check out the podcast. It’s really great. Each episode is about half an hour and entertaining all the way through.