Bag Man: Book summary and reviews of Bag Man by Rachel Maddow

Bag Man

The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

by Rachel Maddow

Bag Man by Rachel Maddow X
Bag Man by Rachel Maddow
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Book Summary

The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon's White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come - with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow's Peabody Award-nominated podcast.

Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody's paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later?

The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon's second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon's impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described "counterpuncher" vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a "witch hunt," riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive.

In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew's crimes, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew's resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew's scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"MSNBC host Maddow and journalist Yarvitz expand on their podcast of the same name in this rollicking study of the 1973 resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew...Maddow's fans will enjoy this entertaining and well-researched recap of Agnew's comeuppance and its barely-veiled yearning for prosecutors to haul Trump into court." - Publishers Weekly

"[T]he text is certainly relevant. However, as with many podcast-to-book translations, the narrative doesn't quite engage on the same level...A well-meaning but disappointingly dull slice of an otherwise dramatic era in American political history." - Kirkus Reviews

"Through remarkable investigative work and engaging storytelling, Maddow and Yarvitz reveal previously unknown challenges faced by the intrepid federal prosecutors who brought Spiro Agnew to justice and waited five decades to share their candid reminiscences. Bag Man delivers a powerful and timeless lesson about America's enduring principles while demonstrating that the final verdict of history may differ from self-interested contemporary accounts and highlighting how much the rule of law depends upon the character of the people who enforce it." - Rod J. Rosenstein, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General

"Bag Man is a super-entertaining page-turner about a mostly forgotten—yet hugely important—chapter of American history that played out right in the shadow of Watergate. It's a deeply wild tale of greed, criminality, and corruption infecting the highest levels of our government. But at its heart, it's a human story, a reminder that people make up our institutions, and ultimately they have the ability to protect—and to save—our democracy when it really needs their help." - Ben Stiller

"Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz expand on their riveting podcast to create a work both scholarly and disturbing in its parallels to current events. Their fast-paced unfurling of Vice President Agnew's almost forgotten crimes—which feel all too familiar to anyone paying attention to politics lately—offers a critical case study in the patterns of corruption that continue to plague our democracy, documenting how politicians abuse their office and how the good guys can bring them to justice. Both a thriller and a history book, Bag Man is a triumph of storytelling." - Preet Bharara, New York Times bestselling author of Doing Justice and host of the podcast Stay Tuned with Preet

This information about Bag Man was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow is host of the Emmy Award–winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power; Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth; and Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House. Maddow received a bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University and earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.

Michael Yarvitz is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning television producer and journalist. He was the executive producer and co-writer of the podcast series Bag Man.

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