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If you like Bob Woodward's story, you might also like:
Tom Clancy,
Sam Donaldson,
David Halberstam,
Nicholas Kristof,
Charles Kuralt,
Colin Powell,
Dan Rather,
Neil Sheehan
and Mike Wallace

Bob Woodward can also be seen and heard in our Podcast Center

Bob Woodward's recommended reading: All the King's Men

Bob Woodward also appears in the videos:
A Leader of Character

Media and Social Responsibility

Related Links:
Bob Woodward
Watergate Papers
Bradlee Remembered

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Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Profile of Bob Woodward Biography of Bob Woodward Interview with Bob Woodward Bob Woodward Photo Gallery

Bob Woodward Biography

Investigative Reporter

Bob Woodward Date of birth: March 26, 1943

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  Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward Biography Photo
Robert U. Woodward was born in Geneva, Illinois, and raised in nearby Wheaton. Woodward's father was a prominent attorney, and hoped that Robert would follow in his footsteps. He attended Yale University on a Naval ROTC scholarship, and majored in history and English literature. A few weeks after receiving his B.A. degree in 1965, he entered the United States Navy for a four-year tour of duty. The American escalation in Vietnam had just begun. When Woodward left the Navy, American involvement in Vietnam -- and domestic opposition to the war -- were at their height.

At the end of his military service, Woodward applied to Harvard Law School, and was accepted for the fall 1970 term, but he chose to pursue a career in journalism instead. He persuaded The Washington Post to give him an unpaid two-week try-out. Not one of the 17 stories he filed was printed. The Post editors concluded that he was not ready for a major metropolitan daily newspaper, and arranged for him to take job as one of four reporters at a small suburban weekly, The Montgomery County Sentinel.

Bob Woodward Biography Photo
He quickly tired of the routine assignments his position offered, and began to hunt for news on his own. He soon became the paper's leading reporter, and by September 1971, the Post was ready to give him another try. He was assigned to the police beat, from 7:00 in the evening to 3:00 in the morning, but he did not limit his work activities to his assigned hours. By day, he circulated in the city's government offices, and pressed civil servants for every piece of information that might prove useful. Within a year, his by-line was appearing on the front page.

Early one Saturday morning, June 17, 1972, the Post's city editor called Woodward to tell him that five men with cameras and electronic surveillance equipment had been arrested breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex. Woodward was assigned to cover the breaking story, along with a younger but more experienced reporter, Carl Bernstein.

Bob Woodward Biography Photo
Although Woodward and Bernstein were able to link the burglary of Democratic National Headquarters to operatives inside the Nixon White House, and to President Nixon's re-election campaign, they were unable at first to prove any direct involvement by the President or his senior staff to either the burglary or its subsequent cover-up. Most news outlets dropped the story, and Nixon was re-elected in a historic landslide.

When the Post persevered with the investigation, President Nixon induced the FCC to challenge the licenses of the Post's television stations. With the full support of their editor, Ben Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein continued to pursue the story, and little by little uncovered a larger story of the abuse of power and the obstruction of justice. Woodward gained valuable information through an unnamed informant, nicknamed "Deep Throat," by Post managing editor Howard Simon. Woodward's critics insisted that this informant was a fabrication, or at best, a composite based on a number of sources. Woodward would only reveal his informant was an individual working in the Executive Branch. For over 30 years, the informant's identity was known only to the man himself, and to Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee.

In August 1974, President Nixon, facing near certain impeachment and conviction, resigned his office and accepted a blanket pardon for any actions he may have committed in office. Woodward and Bernstein's account of the investigation, All The President's Men, became a national best-seller and was made into a popular motion picture. A second book by Woodward and Bernstein on the collapse of the Nixon administration, The Final Days, was also a huge success.

Bob Woodward Biography Photo
With astonishing regularity, Woodward has continued to produce best-selling books on previously hidden aspects of American life. His works to date include The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court; The Man Who Would Be President: Dan Quayle; Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi; Veil: The Secret Ways of the CIA; The Commanders, a look inside the decision making process behind the 1991 Persian Gulf War; The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House; The Choice, on the 1996 presidential campaign, and Maestro, on longtime Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Since 2003, has written four books on President George W. Bush's conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Bush at War, Plan of Attack, State of Denial and The War Within. He continued the story of presidential leadership and foreign policy in Obama's Wars (2010).

In 2005, the mystery surrounding the identity of Watergate informant "Deep Throat" was ended. W. Mark Felt, Sr., a retired Associate Director of the FBI, revealed that he had provided Woodward with details of the Watergate cover-up. Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee all confirmed Felt's revelation. A career FBI agent, Felt held the second ranking post in the FBI at the time of the Watergate break-in and made his disclosures to Woodward when Nixon's appointed FBI Director failed to act on information incriminating members of the Administration. Woodward immediately published a full account of his dealings with Felt in his book, The Secret Man. Now an associate editor at The Washington Post, for several years Bob Woodward oversaw the paper's special investigative projects.

The Academy of Achievement's interview with Bob Woodward is combined with an interview with his longtime editor and mentor, Ben Bradlee (1921-2014).

This page last revised on Oct 21, 2014 20:28 EDT
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