Bob Woodward talks ‘The Last of the President’s Men’ at Cooper Union in NYC

Bob Woodward's latest book,
Bob Woodward’s latest book, “The Last of the President’s Men,” was released Tuesday. Photo Credit: Courtesy Mary Giuliani

Bob Woodward is back with another revealing book about former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

“The Last of the President’s Men,” released Tuesday by Simon & Schuster, tells the story of Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that led to Nixon’s resignation. 

Woodward, 72, wrote “The Last of the President’s Men” after 46 hours of interviews with Butterfield and close examination of thousands of original documents.

Woodward discussed the book during a lecture and Q&A session on Wednesday with Timothy Naftali, former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, at the Cooper Union. Woodward explained how Butterfield was faced with difficult waters to navigate as he contemplated both his loyalty to the president and his personal ethical standards.

“In many ways it’s an odyssey story,” Woodward said.

Butterfield’s perspective changed the way Woodward thinks about Nixon because it provides the other side of the Watergate story, Woodward explained.

Woodward teamed with Carl Bernstein back in 1972 to report on Watergate in what Time magazine considers “perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.” Bernstein and Woodward epitomized the heart of journalism through their persistence and endless fact-checking.

Woodward’s first book, “All the President’s Men,” was written with Bernstein and addressed the extensive level of reporting and determination involved in the Post’s reportage of the Watergate scandal. The 1976 film adaption, starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein, is a classic.

When asked about his continued interest in the Watergate scandal, Woodward said, “History’s never over.” He also emphasized the importance of learning something from everything you do and never giving up.

The book’s release is relevant as America prepares for the 2016 presidential election. With debates and campaigns going on, it’s important to ponder how much the general public knows about the candidates. 

Originally from Illinois, Woodward studied history and English literature at Yale in the early 1960s. After graduating, he served in the U.S. Navy for five years and was hired by the Post in 1971. He has won just about every award for journalism, most notably the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his coverage of Watergate and the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his reporting on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Woodward is the author and co-author of 17 non-fiction books, 12 of which have been No. 1 national best-sellers.