My brilliant and hilarious cousin, Mark Feldstein, has written an engaging account of the long-running feud between Richard Nixon and the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. It's entitled "Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture" and it reads like a political thriller.
Don't trust my (admittedly biased) opinion? Michael Schaub at NPR says:
"Nixon and Anderson were both extremely controversial figures, but Feldstein proves remarkably calm and even-handed throughout the book, even while discussing some of the men's lowest moments (Nixon's resignation in 1973; Anderson's inexplicable decision to censor his own expose on the Iran-Contra scandal). Feldstein has remarkable narrative skills — if the names weren't so familiar, and the setting weren't decades ago, you could almost think you're reading a dystopian political thriller. And though the book deals in scandal, it's never lurid; Feldstein is engaging, but never sensationalistic. He writes with the kind of restraint and responsibility that always evaded his two main subjects, and the result isn't just interesting — it's an absolutely essential book for anyone interested in American political history."
and, Dwight Garner, writing in the New York Times:
"There’s a great deal of high comedy in “Poisoning the Press,” Mark Feldstein’s meticulous recounting of Anderson’s life and times. We watch as Anderson, like some silent-comedy villain with a heart of gold, happily uses every greasy tool at his disposal — eavesdropping, blackmail, planting spies, poking through garbage — to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted in his influential and long-running column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round.” In 2010 there is no one quite like him. At the same time, “Poisoning the Press” is one of the grimmest, most Hobbesian books I’ve ever read, a master class in gutter politics. Nearly everyone in it is venal, petty, grasping, vicious, bent on serving heaping cold platters of revenge. (The book’s weirdest set piece describes how Nixon’s operatives planned to assassinate Anderson, perhaps by smearing LSD on his car’s steering wheel.) It made me want to take a “Silkwood” shower or, at minimum, walk slowly through a carwash."