Blind Ambition by John Dean was published in 1976, and it is perhaps the most reliable of the memoirs that came out of the Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation from his office in 1974.
To summarize Dean's story is to move across the panorama of Watergate to examine the mindset of top government officials, who were so ambitious that they were "blind" to the laws of the Constitution. Dean opens his account when he flies to San Clemente in July, 1970 to be interviewed by Nixon and his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman as the potential successor to John Ehrlichman as counsel to the President.
The story ends in December, 1974, after President Nixon had resigned in disgrace, the only president ever to have done so in the history of the United States.
In between are the events that show the unique personality that Watergate brought out in Dean. The author was at first completely caught up in the righteous atmosphere of the White House. He bought into the attitude that poisoned everyone from Nixon right on down to underlings like Jeb Stuart Magruder, deputy campaign director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, and Charles Colson, special counsel to the President, known as the White House "hatchet men."
Dean's book is a chronicle of the way he was seduced by his blind ambition. He allowed himself to be convinced that, even when he was breaking the law and contributing to the "obstruction of justice" that ultimately led to Nixon's removal, he was doing something patriotic for his country.
By the time that the Watergate hearings appeared on television, Dean had become one of the special witnesses. He offered by far the most damning testimony, which came in part from his need for self-preservation and part from his final decision to tell the truth to Sam Ervin, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee.
Dean uses Blind Ambition to reveal how he felt about men like Ervin, who a...