In the end it is not about Nixon or Watergate at all. It's about human behavior, and it rises upon such transcendent themes as guilt and innocence, resistance and enlightenment, confession and redemption. These are themes that straight history can rarely crystallize. In the presence of the playwright's achievement, the historian—or a participant—can only stand in the wings and applaud.
James Reston Jr. is the author of The Conviction of Richard Nixon and 12 other books.