Cover image for Historical encyclopedia of U.S. independent counsel investigations
Historical encyclopedia of U.S. independent counsel investigations
Greenberg, Gerald S.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 415 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1330 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF5107.5 .H57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

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This volume is a compilation of the U.S. federal special prosecutor/independent counsel investigations spanning the complete twenty-one year tenure from 1978-1999 of the independent counsel statute. The entries include individuals who have served as investigators; those who have been targets of investigations; all attorney generals who have called for appointment of special prosecutors; all presidents during whose terms of office such prosecutors served; and all legal cases that served to argue for or against the constitutionality of the independent counsel statute. These historical precedents are traced from Ulysses Grant's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the St. Louis Whiskey Scandal in 1875. More contemporary cases include Watergate, precipitated by Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre dismissal of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973; Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh's Iran-Contra Investigation; and Special Prosecutor Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation of the Clintons and the ensuing permutations which brought individuals like Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky to prominence and also brought the statute calling for such investigations into constitutional debate.

The book is fully cross-referenced and contains a comprehensive bibliography and index. It will be of interest to scholars and students of American History and Constitutional History.

Author Notes

GERALD S. GREENBERG is a Reference Librarian at Ohio State University's Education, Human Ecology, Psychology & Social Work Library. He is the compiler of Tabloid Journalism: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources (Greenwood, 1996).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Born of an attempt to restore public confidence after the Watergate scandal, the independent counsel law has turned into what some critics cynically describe as just one more "political tool" used in the American political arena, by both Democrats and Republicans, to bludgeon the opposition. As the introduction states, "Largely forgotten is the fact that a fair number of independent counsel investigations either found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or effectively prosecuted misconduct through a series of indictments and convictions that were clearly supported by evidence uncovered." This volume represents editor Greenberg's attempt to take a comprehensive, dispassionate look at a subject for which no other reference source exists. Most of the 200-plus, alphabetically arranged entries are by personal name, and most of these individuals will be recognized by anyone familiar with the U.S. political scene over the past several decades--for example, CIA Director William Casey, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gerald Ford, Rudolph Giuliani, Arkansas businessman James McDougal, Attorney General Edwin Meese. Coverage, however, is not restricted to the post-Watergate era; also represented are Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Harry S Truman. Remaining entries focus on legislation (e.g., Arms Export Control Act, National Security Act), court cases (e.g., U.S. v. Nixon), and topics such as the Carter peanut warehouse case, Filegate, and Iran-Contra. As with most specialized encyclopedias of this type, there are numerous in-text cross-references, and a brief source list accompanies each entry. The book closes with a 20-page bibliography. A chronology would have been a useful addition. Although it may be argued that much of the information contained in this volume is available from the usual assortment of political dictionaries and encyclopedias, there really is no other source that pulls it all together. Recommended for medium-sized to large academic and large public libraries.

Choice Review

Greenberg (reference librarian, Ohio State Univ.) has gathered a broad range of articles by contributors predominantly from history and political science faculties. Entries include people (e.g., Lewinski, North, Reno), events (Iran-Contra, Whitewater, United States v. Nixon), organizations (CIA, ACLU), and statutes (Ethics in Government Act) relating to the office and investigations of the Independent Counsel. In a succinct and cogent introduction, Greenberg traces the history and evolution of the office. Articles range from one to three pages, end with short bibliographies (typically four to five cites), and read as neutral summaries of hard-fought, emotionally charged contests in US history. Entries are clearly written and can be understood by a general audience, but the narrow scope of the work makes it most appropriate for law libraries and libraries with large political science or US history collections. A chronological list of investigations would have been a welcome addition. S. Clerc; Southern Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

Selected Bibliography