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Blind Ambition: The White House Years

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  904 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Blind Ambition: The White House Years
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 1st 1976 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1976)
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Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Tim Petersik
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
tremendous review of the most corrupt White House prior to GW
Aaron Finestone
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Open Road Integrated Media has re-issued the best book on Watergate,
"Blind Ambition" by John Dean.

Dean was the smartest of the Nixon gang. As counsel to the President, he coordinated the cover up, investigated the burglary, protected the President, set up the fall guys and arranged the payment of hush money.

As the flood gates of the scandal were about to burst, Dean was the first to defect to the prosecutors, tell all, and wind up with a jail sentence of only four months.
Conspirators who commit
Glen Stott
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn’t read this when it first came out in the 1970’s because I figured it would be a self-justification for John Dean. And it probably is to some extent. However, I found it interesting and worth the read. It gives a great deal of detail about the behind the scenes actions of a very corrupt government. The corruption started early with Nixon – long before Watergate. In fact, Watergate was just one corrupt act that was exposed.

Dean was ambitious and involved himself without second thoughts. Th
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I find books by John W. Dean quite fascinating, especially his books on Watergate
Donna Davis
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nixon buffs and anyone that likes a political memoir.
Recommended to Donna by: Open Road Media via NG invitation
John Dean was counsel to the president during the Nixon administration, and was the first to testify against all of the Watergate conspirators, including Nixon and including himself, a bold but necessary decision that led to Nixon’s resignation—done to avoid imminent impeachment—and Dean’s imprisonment. Dean’s story is a real page turner, and Nixon-Watergate buffs as well as those that are curious about this time period should read this book. I read the hard copy version, for which I paid full j ...more
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lynn Hall
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More Relevant Than Ever

I was in high school during Watergate, and I was a complete Watergate junkie. I read this book when it first came out, and this seemed like a good time to read it again. It's even more compelling than I remember, and an important book for our current political mess.

The most obvious message of the book is that it reminds us how easy it is for well-meaning people to slide down the slope from dutiful service into corruption, in the service of the President of the United State
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Open Road Integrated Media, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book because I am interested in american history and lived through the Watergate years. I have read a number of other books on the subject, but not this one.

This is a re-rele
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the time of Watergate, I was working as a legal secretary in a law firm ... needless to say, every morning we would re-hash what was happening in D.C. and wonder who was going to be the fall guy ... most of us (avid Nixon supporters) thought blame was at the top of the heap and placed it right in Nixon's lap. So it has been quite interesting to look back and re-read John Dean's version of the account. There is a lot of detail in his book ... if you weren't following the story at the time it h ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fascinating look back at the Nixon White House. If you've read The Firm by John Grisham, this is the real life non fiction version. Idealistic young guy gets his ideal job - taking it against the advice of some - in the White House and then slowly he loses his perspective and morality. Some of the information is shocking and although old news, it is probably never more relevant than in the week Mr DJ Trump takes occupation. John W Dean is an easy writer and the story flows like a novel. There ...more
Karis North
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5. Meh. Given the current occupant of the White House, and all that's going on, I thought it made sense to pick up this book. I had to take breaks reading it, because there are so many similarities between what happened with Watergate, the cover-up, and what's happening today. Mostly, I just felt disgust, and like I needed a shower after reading it. Dean is self-serving, and I don't think entirely honest. Worth it for the historical context,but it was still painful.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a young mom at the time of Watergate. Therefore, I was too busy to get all of it. This reissue of Blind Ambition

helped me to catch up with the history I missed during the 1970's . It is really frightening how quickly the government can run amuck with lies and coverups. It has made me look to political events in Washington with a skeptical eye.
Roger Briggs
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the rare day today of being able to experience a solar eclipse, I completed John Dean's "Blind Ambition" somewhat tongue in cheek over being blinded by the sun or blinded by ambition with POTUS45 photographed looking at the sun in eclipse without eye protection, an appropriate forecaster of trials to come for this president.
Tom Rowe
Dean gives us an absolutely fascinating look at Watergate from within with this well written account that reads like a novel. It makes me want to dive into other accounts of Watergate from the different players. I didn't even think Watergate is that interesting, but this book has certainly drawn my attention to it. I recommend.
After reading "All the President's Men" a couple of years back, I saw this. Dean offers a first hand account of the Watergate cover up. Some have doubted his veracity on certain points, but I found the memoir as honest. He made mistakes. He acknowledges his ambition and the trouble that he walked into with his eyes open and was pulled into. Worth reading.
Barry J. Mann
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A nice companion book to others about Watergate, and Nixon. This tale is not as self-serving as I thought it would be.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read, interesting view from Dean from someone who's was in the thick of it. They all forgot that they were in power to serve the country and the people.
Ken Reich
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I was just a young teenager when these events occurred. I fear that we have the same mix of money, power, greed and corruption in the current White House
Cheryl Cameron
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember this time well as a girl growing up in the 1970's. There are some eerie parallels between the Nixon administration and the Trump regime.
Alf Goodall
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Highly recommended but it may cause one to become quite concerned as her or she reads about how easy it was to take actions that are downright scary.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An explosive, powerfully riveting confessional. Wow!
Viviane Crystal
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Dean felt privileged on being invited to be Richard Nixon and the White House’s legal counsel. Highly intelligent and skilled, Dean recognized that his main task was building a business in the White House and wrongly assumed he would have all the connections and advice necessary for the job. He also realized he had spent so much of his life working, he had no meaningful relationships outside of that professional career, so he again wooed and married his old girlfriend, Mo. It wasn’t long be ...more
Brian Schwartz
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Michele Weiner
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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Blind Ambition and current events 2 16 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
More about John W. Dean...
“I'm not sure I've ever profited on the legacy of Watergate.” 3 likes
“Haldeman, it seemed, lived by Polonius’ advice to his son—“apparel oft proclaims the man.” 0 likes
More quotes…