Blind Ambition (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
In July, 1970, John Dean flew to San Clemente, California, to be interviewed by President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman as a possible successor to John Ehrlichman as counsel to the President. In 1974, he was in jail, convicted of conspiring to cover up the most awesome structure of criminal actions ever created by a presidential administration in United States history. John Dean was no hero; he has been called one of the sleaziest White House operatives, a compulsively ambitious striver who pandered to his superiors’ worst impulses. He largely engineered the cover-up of the illegal activities both within and without the White House and then turned informer in time to plea-bargain for himself. But he appears to have learned from his experiences and perhaps to have grown as a man as a result of them.
Certainly, Dean has produced in Blind Ambition, with the help of his collaborator, the well-known and skillful journalist Taylor Branch, an interesting chronicle of megalomania and deception, a book which contains not only an insider’s view of Washington under Richard Nixon, but also some surprisingly valuable insights. Every page of this relentlessly self-centered book conveys the authenticity of having been there. It is a highly personal narrative from a single point of view, and neither a historian’s account of the Watergate affair nor a work of moral philosophy, as its advocates tried to imply, but, rather, a...
(The entire section is 1743 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
America. CXXXVI, January 8, 1977, p. 15.
National Review. XXIX, January 7, 1977, p. 38.
New York Review of Books. XXIII, November 25, 1976, p. 8.
New York Times Book Review. October 31, 1976, p. 3.
Saturday Review. IV, December 11, 1976, p. 64.
Time. CVIII, October 29, 1976, p. 83.
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