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Blind Ambition

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  566 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Blind Ambition: The White House Years by John Dean 1976 Hardcover
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 1st 1976 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1976)
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Just heard him speak at the Nixon library in Yorba Linda - has a new version out of this with a new introduction responding to viscious attacks against him and his wife by right wing zealot defenders of Nixon. Fascinating to revisit the watergate period, since so much of our current distrust and cynicsm about government started then.
Mar 02, 2008 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stephanie by: my mom
I really enjoyed this book. Watergate is something I knew nothing about so I enjoyed the learning, but also it was such a thrilling story that I hated putting it down. One difficulty was keeping up with all the men and their positions especially at the beginning as new people were continually being brought into the story.
Tim Petersik
tremendous review of the most corrupt White House prior to GW
Heather Rothman
Jan 05, 2011 Heather Rothman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heather by: John Dean
This is a re-release of John Dean's first book and definitely worth the read either as a first-time look or as a review. He has added new material including a new foreword and afterword plus new notes based on additional information uncovered during the nine-year litigation that he was involved in after the official Watergate period had ended.

At times, it can be difficult to keep track of the various names and positions of the people involved in the myriad activities that we now place under the
On this 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation (and in light of the ridiculous political climate, today)... I chose to re-read Blind Ambition. I read it, first, in the '80s. You MUST read this book, if you have any interest in history or politics. Dean is an incredibly humble and astute self-made historian. His chronicle of the inner-workings of the Nixon White House is hard to put down.
(If this book interests you, I also recommend you find the video from The Colbert Report on Aug. 4 on which
Oh, so much to say. Yes, John Dean is a pompous ass in many ways, but he seems to acknowledge that as he describes his rise to close-to-power. Overall this is the most thoughtful, forthright and revealing account of the Watergate years, and the best of the participant memoirs. I have read most of them. (Avoid Jeb Stuart Magruder's book as it is self serving and extremely tedious.)

For a student of Watergate this is a must read.
I watched this guy testify during the Nixon impeachment hearings ... I lived and ate this stuff up. His book was a page turner for me. Many have said he was painting himself in a rosy portrait and I get that. But still I think he understood better than the other 3 (Nixon, Brush, Ehrlichman) that they had sullied the office of president.
John Moretz
Feb 24, 2015 John Moretz rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Watergate nuts, Nixon supporters, Nixon haters, historians, fans of the 1970s
Recommended to John by: by a deep background source...
A dense, detailed account of young John Dean's experiences in the Nixon White House.

Dean clearly knew that something...[editor's note: 18 minutes of typing was deleted. Unfortunately, many attempts to recover the lost text have been unsuccessful]...

Since this is a memoir, that whole nuttiness known as the Watergate scandal is skewed in Dean's favour.

But Dean doesn't paint himself as some saint, some naive kid from the sticks who gets manipulated by big time politics. He's clearly a smart lawye
Michele Weiner
A walk down memory lane to a time when presidential felonies were frowned upon. Dean published this new edition to make sure Watergate revisionist history would not gain a foothold, and to add to what he knew then the facts that he has uncovered since. He delved back into the case again in order to pursue a lawsuit against Gordon Liddy, certifiably insane Watergate burglar and current right wing talk show host, and his co-author. These two had written that Dean's wife, the beautiful Maureen, was ...more
Brian Schwartz
A lot of what Dean writes in BLIND AMBITION is self serving bullshit. Dean was the first to tell his story, so it was against his story that everybody else’s story was compared and if their version of events didn’t match Dean’s they were considered to be lies. Dean was also the first Watergate defendant to write a book and provide the public with a firsthand narrative of the scandal that gripped the nation for two years.

The book is still controversial today. Authors Len Colodny and Robert Gettli
I have just completed "Blind Ambition: the White House Years" by John W. Dean. As anyone from my generation no doubt remembers, Dean served as White House counsel to Richard Nixon and was a key player in the Watergate scandal. When a friend reviewed this book some time ago, he pointed out that Watergate and the coverage given to it played a key part in his deciding to become a journalist. For many of us who were teens at that time, our political consciousness was certainly shaped by those events ...more
Michael Linton
For a fan of Watergate, it is an important book to read. One thing to keep in mind is this book is written by someone convicted and he does try to makes himself appear better than he really is. It seems to be part of his personality. During his Senate hearing preparation, he was told by his lawyer to take self-righteous shxx out. He was explaining how he was telling MaGruder how to lie while at the same time telling him not to lie. The lawyer said he should just admit what he did wrong rather th ...more
Ha Hoang
A comprehensive account detailing what happened during Watergate - one of the most important political scandal in US history. You love those espionage movies about all the clandestine and privileged activities, CIA and stuff? This book is exactly for you, except that it is even better in the sense that all these events actually happened.

The only thing that put me off a bit is the author's self-serving paragraphs here and there in the work which he even apologized for.

Still, an honest work. I ad
I came across a free copy and couldn't put it down, despite its small print and yellowed pages. Dean strikes me as entirely credible and trustworthy. I will order his updated version and other Dean books online, as I cannot find them in the book stores.
Coleen Dailey
In the summer of 1973 I had just graduated high school and hated the fact that the Watergate hearings were on tv every day. I remember a lot of what happened but didn't pay attention to the details. This book not only gives the details but a lot of behind the scenes thought process that brought about the cover-up and eventual convictions of some and resignation of a President. I recently heard John Dean at an ethics seminar - don't laugh it was one of the best and most interesting ethics lecture ...more
Patrice Maltais
Well written and immersive view of the Nixon White House from someone who was there and let his "blind ambition" get the better of him when faced with the opening chapters of Watergate, to which he contributed a great deal once the deed was done. You get a good picture of the cover up and how it developped from the "grunts" (i.e. the first line defenders, so to speak) point of view. Shows you how loyalty and faith can cloud your judgment and how you can rationalize a lot of things you know are b ...more
Incredible true story of Watergate.
Joan Fisher
Fascinating chronicle of Watergate era.
Martha Johnson
I read this, of course, decades ago when we were all coping with the Watergate story. It was one of my earliest experiences with what is now all so common -- the book that follows a public and political story. It is always important to get all those perspectives. He did a good job and it gave me the fever... I still read these sorts of books so that I can find out what the media hasn't had time or inclination to cover in the earlier stories.
I love this book. corruption, intrigue. I read it every few years.
David-jacky Breech
When ever reading the books by former aids of Nixon during the Watergate era one must remember they are all self serving in that it comes from what the writer remembers. They all needed to pay legal fee's after many of them served time in minimal security prisons and books deals was the fastest and easiest way to pay those fee's and rebuild their lives.

Very interesting book: "A Cancer is growing on the Presidency"
Jan C
Oh, I read this years ago. When it came out. It seemed for a while like I couldn't read enough anti-Nixon books. And goodness knows, there were a lot of them.

But here was the inside story from one of the people who blew the lid off at the Watergate hearings.
Okay, I didn't finish (but read his Wiki page so I know the ending). It was interesting to me as an attorney and as someone who didn't live through Watergate. It was helpful to have watched All the Presidents Men to know the characters in advance.
About the only reason I don't give this and similar books a "5" is that this was the era of "piling on." Anything that spread bile about Nixon was taken as true hook, line and sinker. I happen to think Nixon was a thug, but there are limits.
Henry Kinch jr.
Right up there with All The President's Men, this book is an excellent behind the scenes look inside the Nixon Whitehouse during Watergate. Read this and ATPM and you are covered for Watergate XMAS party chat. Forget all the others.
The absolute best of the watergate books by the ultimate insider. First person amazingly detailed account of all the machinations inside the White House. Reads like an exciting mystery story even though you know the ending.
Donna Davis
It seemed a trifle self-serving (how come they get religion in prison, then shed it so quickly once they're out?) but as mentioned elsewhere, I am something of a Nixon buff, and this was a fairly interesting read.
A seminal insider account of the Watergate scandal. Albeit self-serving, Dean's tell all book will give you insight like no other on Nixon and the development of the scandal.
John Dean's book about Watergate with the new update. Good book about greed and the opportunities for misbehavior in politics.
Rob Beck
Good insight into the Nixon administration during Watergate and what took place in the cover up.
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Blind Ambition and current events 2 15 Jun 09, 2013 09:45PM  
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John W. Dean served as White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. In this position, he became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up. He was referred to as the "master manipulator of the cover-up" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He pleaded guilty to a single fel ...more
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