January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever by James Robenalt is an essential read into a month in American history where a confluence of events all came together. The book doesn’t really cover new ground but does tie and weave the intricate motif of the a pivotal month in American history together. Using each day to tell a story including background from earlier times, Robenalt, a noted Watergate expert is able to tie together pieces of that scandal in an understandable and digestible way.
Other topics covered closely include the immediate aftermath of the death of President Harry Truman, the declining health and death of President Lyndon Johnson (and the subsequent scaling back of the Great Society programs LBJ had crafted), the Vietnam peace talks in Paris and the deliberations over Roe v Wade. With the lens of forty years perspective, historians have closed in on January 1973 as being an incredible important month in shaping modern American history.
This book is well worth a read. Incredibly researched and laid out in an easily understandable manner, it’s a relatively quick read as it provides a narrative into events rather than complex insights. The book however, is insightful and critically written enough to be enjoyable for those who prefer analytical books to ones that are simply historical narratives.
Anyone interested in modern American history or politics should purchase a copy of this book.
My recommendation is Naomi Klein’s “No Is Not Enough”. Best read of the past year of politics and where to go from here.