To the Editor:
want to commend James Rosen on his article about Bob Woodward’s chronicling of U.S. history, particularly the Nixon Years [“Bob Woodward’s Sins of Omission,” February]. It is very insightful and should give the Woowardites much food for thought.
But Mr. Rosen did not discuss a major fault in Woodward’s books, one that ultimately makes them problematic. Woodward writes about what people were supposedly “thinking,” and how they physically moved, during meetings at which he was not present. He also quotes people directly—with quotation marks—from meetings that were not recorded.
Thus, I quit reading him after his second or third book. When I asked Ben Bradlee, who was speaking at the Detroit Press Club many years ago about this aspect of Woodward’s work, he acknowledged that “he does take some liberties from time to time.” That is a direct quote. I wrote it down and frequently referred to it in my classes at Wayne State University, where I was an adjunct member of the journalism department. Woodward would not have received a passing grade from me.
West Bloomfield, Michigan