It all comes down to this: when Gerald Ford became President, he pardoned Nixon of any and all crimes he may have committed in office. Ford's reasoning was that "the spectacle of putting a [former] President through a trial and sentencing would be too traumatizing to the American public". Funny, nobody was worried that the Nurenburg trials would be too traumatizing to the German public. I guess American officials figure we're a bunch of emotionally fragile adolescents.Tangent of questionable relevance: This reminds me of when my then-ten year old sister sobbed uncontrollably for an afternoon when she learned one of the guys in Duran Duran was arrested on drug charges. Her bedroom was adorned with posters of that group; apparently, she not only idolized them, she idealized them. This was back in the heyday of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign against drugs, so I guess to an impressionable ten year old, smoking a joint was the moral equivalent to going on a killing spree. We worship our Presidents to such a degree that our world would just fall apart if one of them was discovered to be a crook... is that it? Well, who can blame them for believing that? They lie to our faces and abuse our liberties, and we never hold them to account. Why shouldn't they regard themselves as beyond our standards of justice? (laws are for the common people do not apply to the Elites)Back to Nixon's pardon... so a crook went free, and (surprise!) the public became disillusioned with their national leaders. This book's title refers to the long shadow of suspicion which has stretched out over now seven administrations which followed Nixon. Woodward shows how lingering memories of Watergate have hamstringed national leaders over the past forty years. I am forty-two, and I can't quite remember back to the day when we held elected officials up as heros, but apparently there was such a time. It doesn't sound healthy to me, but I have family who actually miss the era when men in high office were assumed to be made of a little better stuff than the rest of us. Good riddance to that attitude. The idea is dangerously fallacious and embarrassingly fellatious. Do I really need to explain why? The foundation of corruption is selective enforcement of rules. Sacrificing justice for expedience embraces and encourages injustice.They should have thrown the book at Nixon. In fact, they should have punished him more aggressively and more publicly than lower officials committing the same crimes. There is an apalling lack of deterrance in our system for abuses of power. Nixon should have spent the rest of his life behind bars. Instead, he enjoyed thirty more years of privilege in his secluded mansion, and when he died, we gave him a state funeral. What sort of message does that send? If a President breaks the law, he won't go to jail? The message we should send is that if you abuse your power when in office, your life will be ruined, and you will never retain or recover the wealth or privilege you lose.