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Blind Ambition: The White House Years (1976)

by John Dean

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In Blind Ambition, John Dean chronicled his experience as US President Richard Nixon's attorney, with a focus on the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's impeachment and resignation. Ghost written with Taylor Branch, Dean's book is a frank portrayal of the criminality of the Nixon administration and of the cover - up that led to prosecution and conviction of several top administration officials. The book also is Dean's personal account of how he became so blinded by loyalty and ambition as to participate in obstruction of justice and the payment of hush money to the Watergate burglars -- crimes to which he pleaded guilty in federal court.

More than three decades later, Blind Ambition retains iconic status as the most revealing personal account of the inner workings of the Nixon administration, certainly moreso than the self- serving accounts of the other personalities of the Watergate scandal. Anyone interested in understanding the Nixon administration and its downfall should read this book -- ideally in the updated edition of 2009. For other views of the scandal, see Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men and The Final Days. ( )
5 vote danielx | Nov 23, 2011 |
Dean does not hide his role in this personal tale of Watergate, and is not defensive of some questionable activity, including his behavior to other inmates when he was behind bars. A good read. It is one of the best explanations of the Watergate caper from one who was there. Essential for any study of Nixon for this period. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Jul 3, 2011 |
Blind Ambition is a personal confession -- one that recounts Dean's succumbing to the baser aspects of power and the quest for it. But it is more than that. It's a look inside the world of White House aides who, despite their access to huge amounts of information about the state of the country, seem to be so disconnected from the values of the people they are appointed to serve.

Some have said it is self-serving, and it probably is. But I was impressed by Dean's willingness to identify his own mistakes, transgressions, and crimes. It's a very human story he tells, and tells well. ( )
1 vote Oreillynsf | Feb 15, 2010 |
1425 Blind Ambition: The White House Years, by John W. Dean III (read 4 Dec 1976) This is a good book even though it is laced with profanity not just in quotes but in relating Dean's own thoughts. But it is quite a book and has the real ring of truth--even though the quotes are probably not real quotes. Thoroughly readable. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 1, 2009 |
An interesting read, and more readable than I 'd anticipated. Dean (or perhaps his ghost writer; there's a bit of dispute) paints a believable portrait of a hard-working, ambitious politico who gets entangled in Watergate. The book makes no excuses for Dean, and comes very near to directly implicating the president.

Dean was a central player in the cover-up, and paints interesting portraits of the other players. Worth reading just for that; he's got a good eye for character. That his version of the story is close to the one we "know" is likely inevitable; his narrative shaped the Ervin committee's hearings. Since the story-as-told is neither obviously self-serving nor protective of the president, I'd be willing to treat it as a key research source were I researching these events. Others, I'm sure, differ.

And one last note: This is perhaps the worst-proofed book I've ever read. Typographical errors are common.

This review is also available on a dabbler's journal. ( )
1 vote joeldinda | Oct 7, 2008 |
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Please do not combine the 2009 "Blind Ambition: The End of the Story" with the 1976 version "Blind Edition: The White House Years."
The 2009 edition includes extended additions in response to the Watergate revisionists.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671224387, Hardcover)

Blind Ambition: The White House Years by John Dean 1976 Hardcover

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:25 -0400)

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