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Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

Tekijä: Rachel Maddow

Muut tekijät: Michael Yarvitz

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
3441174,220 (4.23)8
"The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon's White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come-with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow's Peabody Award-nominated podcast. Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody's paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later? The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon's second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when-at the height of Watergate-three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon's impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described "counterpuncher" vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a "witch hunt," riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive. In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew's crimes, the attempts at a cover-up-which involved future president George H. W. Bush-and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew's resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew's scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House."--… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
If you listened to the podcast you'll mostly know this story, but this was a good read nonetheless; a really well-told version of the Agnew investigation and its contexts. ( )
1 ääni JBD1 | Sep 16, 2023 |
This book was something of a trip down memory lane for me from a number of perspectives. One, though I had been a big fan at one point in time, Rachel Maddow had drifted outside my attention span sometime late in Obama's time in office. Two, before reading this book, I could go years without thinking about Spiro Agnew, and even at the time of Watergate his legal travails were a small time matter compared to that of Richard Nixon; though I can assure you that even adolescents in school were well aware that before Nixon was ushered out of office, Agnew had to go first.

What is most striking to me about the story that Maddow & Yarvitz tell is just how clueless Agnew seemed to be in pursuit of making politics personally pay, and the level of entitlement displayed actually did turn out to be toxic. Maybe it was mostly the residue of classic American machine politics, but there was something in the air, as I can remember more than a few media creations from the time featured "average" people trying to get rich quick, regardless of the risks or consequences. If it hasn't already been done there's certainly a book in it for someone doing cultural studies of the United States.

Besides that, the real story here is the pursuit of Agnew by the apparatus of the federal legal system, with particular focus on the team of young prosecutors who discovered Agnew's operation, how they sold pursuit of the case of their superiors, and how it was finally decided that discretion was the better part of valor and it was sufficient unto the day to coerce Agnew into resigning. It's not clear that the case against the man would have survived Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" against the Justice Department, and that would have made for some "interesting," and unpleasant history.

All in all an entertaining and informative book, and I might have to start paying attention to Rachel Maddow again. ( )
  Shrike58 | May 4, 2023 |
A wild story that kept me exclaiming aloud. ( )
  suzannekmoses | May 20, 2022 |
More of a 4.5.

I had heard of the Bagman podcast but never got around to catching up. But I remember watching Rachel talk about Agnew during a couple of A blocks of her show and was surprised that I hadn’t even heard the name of this supposedly infamous VP. So when I saw the announcement for this book, I was obviously very excited and immediately got around to reading it as soon as I got my library copy.

I naturally don’t want to hash the facts from the book again in this review, but reading about this whole saga of a corrupt VP who took envelopes of cash bribes even while in the White House was just stunning, and even more surprising was the fact that this seems like a very forgotten piece of history, probably overshadowed by the Watergate scandal and its aftermath. However, the main point I took from this story was the parallels to the Trump administration - from the numerous similarities between the two figures and their brazen corruption, as well as the attacks they go on when caught. It’s almost like I was reading about the past four years and not something that happened almost 50 years ago. And just like what happened with Agnew, it feels like this administration might also escape prosecutions or any consequences, either due to a too lenient Biden admin or more possibly, lots of self serving pardons.

But what felt not similar between Agnew’s case and the current administration was the conduct of the Attorney General, the US attorney of Maryland as well as the prosecutors. Rightfully, the authors highlight the relentless work done by these civil servants who did their duty despite pressure from the higher ups and ultimately got a corrupt person out of the presidential line of succession, even if they were unable to get their preferred indictments or sentences. This is obviously in stark contrast to our recently resigned AG who never felt like someone who would support the prosecutors under him if they wanted to pursue similar lines of inquiry against anyone in the administration. This just goes to show that while the corruption has lived on, principled people - who would put up a fight against those in power using their positions for nefarious activities - are now a rare commodity, which is very unfortunate for the country.

All in all, this was a well written and interesting read with lots of first hand information from the lawyers who were involved, and despite the brazen corruption of a person in high office, I did enjoy the book a lot. There’s quite a bit of snark in the writing, which I think I can attribute to Rachel’s signature humor, but it never lessened the importance of what happened. And just like Rachel mentioned many times in her previous book Blowout, the strength of our small-d democratic institutions depends on the people who are ready to defend them, even against those in power - and the past four years have shown that they are not invincible. It’s now upto the people how they want to hold their electeds accountable. But before you do that, read this book and listen to the podcast, but sometimes history really teaches us lessons which can help us make better choices in the future. ( )
1 ääni ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
In a few short months in summer and fall of 1973, Spiro Agnew rewrote the rules for how a White House occupant can respond, and fight back, when his own Justice Department comes knocking. Damn the investigators. Damn the press. Damn the opposition. Damn the facts. Hang in there, baby! A legitimate investigation, it turns out, can be smeared and muddied up with a simple but aggressive counteroffensive-one that privileges feelings over facts, base loyalty over evidence, and obstruction over cooperation.
Ultimately, Agnew failed to save himself. But he left a scorched earth battle plan for any corrupt office holder that followed. Punch back. Hard. Until either you are broken or the system is.
1 ääni taurus27 | Jan 31, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä

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Maddow, Rachelensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Yarvitz, Michaelmuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon's White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come-with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow's Peabody Award-nominated podcast. Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody's paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later? The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon's second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when-at the height of Watergate-three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon's impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described "counterpuncher" vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a "witch hunt," riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive. In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew's crimes, the attempts at a cover-up-which involved future president George H. W. Bush-and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew's resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew's scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House."--

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