You may only have the vaguest idea of the 40-year-old political scandal that brought down the Tricky Dick Nixon and his corrupt administration.
But in the early ‘70s Watergate was the biggest freaking deal, and it occupied television broadcasts seemingly forever. Watergate even reached my high school in Santa Monica, CA, when journalists from Europe and Japan come to interview high school students who objected to having a portrait of disgraced Nixon staffer John Ehrlichman hanging in the school’s “Hall of Fame.”
The Watergate saga made the careers of Washington Post junior staffers Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein, who were played in the All the President’s Men film by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Suddenly journalism became a huge sensation, but the fad quickly bottomed out once it was discovered that journalists made very little money, did not resemble Robert Redford, that newspapers had no interest in backing difficult stories that brought down bad guys and that it was all about glossy stories that increased ad revenue.
When Phil Stanford, a friend of mine from Portland, brought me White House Call Girl, I was puzzled by the book’s premise—that a call girl ring, in league with mobsters and intelligence operatives, was a blackmail operation and the little-known back story to the Watergate scandal.
“Do you mean,” I asked, “that the famous story made into books and films are wrong?”
“That’s only half the story,” Phil replied. “And it’s partly invented, too.”
“Why don’t you read the book?”
So I read it and was bowled over. Though it’s a fully sourced political non-fiction, it reads like a detective novel, full of whores, mobsters, political operatives, and even football team players. And it’s got plenty of evidence, including photos of an address book owned by the main call girl in question, chock full of very interesting phone numbers and addresses.
Stanford’s book verifies and adds to the controversial Watergate revisionism tomes Secret Agenda by Jim Hougan (who also contributed a piece about Jonestown to Feral House’s Secret and Suppressed II), and Silent Coup by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin.
I read the book cautiously, and a major attorney vetted it. The book seemed about as legally foolproof as they come. So when Feral House received a five-page legal threat by none other than the huge Watergate figure John Dean, we were amazed. He didn’t even read the book, but he didn’t want it read by anyone else. And he also imagined that this one minute Feral House book trailer done him wrong.
I remember seeing Dean and his wife Maureen from many Watergate TV broadcasts. They were on television so much that the Deans almost felt like family to me, like the Brady Bunch, or perhaps more accurately, The Munsters. These past few weeks I learned that Dean has made it difficult for many to publish any sort of “revisionist” Watergate history. For example, Dean sued authors Colodny and Gettlin, and their publisher St. Martin’s, for their book Silent Coup. His letter, attached here, boasts of costing publisher St. Martin’s $15,000,000. I’m guessing that this is what Dean means when he claims he achieved victory from this settled lawsuit. But was it a real victory? Silent Coup is still in print, and not one word of the book was touched, and the authors received over $400,000 in payments in the settlement.
We read the letter twice. Three times. And more. But it was difficult for us to figure out exactly what this 74-year-old disgraced felon wants, outside of intimidating the shit out of us.
Fortunately, we were able to hire a very well-known D.C. attorney (John B. Williams of Cozen O’Conner) who has already successfully battled John Dean in other legal matters, to reply. I feel that his amusing and knowledgeable letter hits the ball out of the park. Thank you, Mr. Williams for your strike for free speech.
We believe that it’s increasingly important to allow White House Call Girl to reach potential readers. In this first publication as an ebook, Phil Stanford’s fascinating bit of history can now be ordered from Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other sellers of eBooks. You can even order it here, from the Feral House site. If you have PayPal, and want to read it in its ebook form, you can get it instantly here.
If you’re fond of printed pages, this book will be available in an updated edition this coming Spring.