John W. Dean
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About John W. Dean
John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, and an associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice. His undergraduate studies were at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science; then a graduate fellowship at American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD with honors in 1965.
John recounted his days at the Nixon White House and Watergate in three books: Blind Ambition (Open Road 2016), Lost Honor (1982) and The Nixon Defense (2014). After retiring from a business career as a private investment banker doing middle-market mergers and acquisitions, he returned to full-time writing and lecturing, including as a columnist for FindLaw's Writ (from 2000 to 2010) and Justia’s Verdict (since 2010). Donald Trump’s election and presidency resulted in John’s 12th book by return to American authoritarianism, which he examined earlier New York Times best-sellers Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), because authoritarianism is on the ballot in 2020. Thus his study with Bob Altemeyer, Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers.
John held the Barry Goldwater Chair of American Institutions at Arizona State University (academic years 2015-16), and for the past decade and a half he has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications. John is a CNN News contributor and analyst, and teaches continuing legal education (CLE) programs examining the impact of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct on select historic events from Watergate and the Trump presidency with surprising results – see www.WatergateCLE.com
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Books By John W. Dean
To fully understand, John Dean, a man with a history of standing up to autocratic presidents, joined with Bob Altemeyer, a professor of psychology with a unique area of expertise: Authoritarianism.
Relying on social science findings and psychological diagnostic tools (such as the "Power Mad Scale" and the "Con Man Scale"), as well as research and analysis from the Monmouth University Polling Institute (one of America's most respected public opinion research foundations), the authors provide us with an eye-opening understanding of the Trump phenomenon — and how we may be able to stop it.
In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean places the conservative movement's inner circle of leaders in the Republican Party under scrutiny. Dean finds their policies and mind- set to be fundamentally authoritarian, and as such, a danger to democracy. By examining the legacies of such old-line conservatives as J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro Agnew, and Phyllis Schlafly and of such current figures as Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and leaders of the Religious Right, Dean presents an alarming record of abuses of power. His trenchant analysis of how conservatism has lost its bearings serves as a chilling warning and a stirring inspiration to safeguard constitutional principles.
Former White House counsel John Dean, with the unique viewpoint and expertise born of working for Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, here looks critically at the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, arguing that its worldview—and its tendency toward secrecy and deception—set America back decades, and may ultimately do more damage to the nation than Nixon at his worst.
“He has become a discerning connoisseur of presidential venality.” —The New York Times
“Few critics have as effectively put the disparate pieces together.” —Publishers Weekly
President Nixon's former counsel illuminates another presidency marked by scandal
Warren G. Harding may be best known as America's worst president. Scandals plagued him: the Teapot Dome affair, corruption in the Veterans Bureau and the Justice Department, and the posthumous revelation of an extramarital affair.
Raised in Marion, Ohio, Harding took hold of the small town's newspaper and turned it into a success. Showing a talent for local politics, he rose quickly to the U.S. Senate. His presidential campaign slogan, "America's present need is not heroics but healing, not nostrums but normalcy," gave voice to a public exhausted by the intense politics following World War I. Once elected, he pushed for legislation limiting the number of immigrants; set high tariffs to relieve the farm crisis after the war; persuaded Congress to adopt unified federal budget creation; and reduced income taxes and the national debt, before dying unexpectedly in 1923.
In this wise and compelling biography, John W. Dean—no stranger to controversy himself—recovers the truths and explodes the myths surrounding our twenty-ninth president's tarnished legacy.
As White House counsel to Richard Nixon, a young John W. Dean was one of the primary players in the Watergate scandal—and ultimately became the government’s key witness in the investigations that ended the Nixon presidency. After the scandal subsided, Dean rebuilt his career, first in business and then as a bestselling author and lecturer. But while the events were still fresh in his mind, he wrote this remarkable memoir about the operations of the Nixon White House and the crisis that led to the president’s resignation.
Called “fascinating” by Commentary, which noted that “there can be little doubt of [Dean's] memory or his candor,” Blind Ambition offers an insider’s view of the deceptions and machinations that brought down an administration and changed the American people’s view of politics and power. It also contains Dean’s own unsparing reflections on the personal demons that drove him to participate in the sordid affair. Upon its original publication, Kirkus Reviews hailed it “the flip side of All the President’s Men—a document, a minefield, and prime entertainment.”
Today, Dean is a respected and outspoken advocate for transparency and ethics in government, and the bestselling author of such books as The Nixon Defense, Worse Than Watergate, and Conservatives Without Conscience. Here, in Blind Ambition, he “paints a candid picture of the sickening moral bankruptcy which permeated the White House and to which he contributed. His memory of who said what and to whom is astounding” (Foreign Affairs).
Watergate forever changed American politics, and in light of the revelations about the NSA’s widespread surveillance program, the scandal has taken on new significance. Yet remarkably, four decades after Nixon was forced to resign, no one has told the full story of his involvement in Watergate.
In The Nixon Defense, former White House Counsel John W. Dean, one of the last major surviving figures of Watergate, draws on his own transcripts of almost a thousand conversations, a wealth of Nixon’s secretly recorded information, and more than 150,000 pages of documents in the National Archives and the Nixon Library to provide the definitive answer to the question: What did President
Nixon know and when did he know it?
Through narrative and contemporaneous dialogue, Dean connects dots that have never been connected, including revealing how and why the Watergate break-in occurred, what was on the mysterious 18 1/2 minute gap in Nixon’s recorded conversations, and more.
In what will stand as the most authoritative account of one of America’s worst political scandals, The Nixon Defense shows how the disastrous mistakes of Watergate could have been avoided and offers a cautionary tale for our own time.
One of today's most outspoken and respected political commentators asks: How can our democracy function when the key institutions of government no longer operate as intended by the Constitution? Stepping back to assess three decades of nearly continuous Republican rule, John W. Dean surveys the damage done to the three branches of government and traces their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Speaking to what the average moderate citizen can do to combat extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and the Republicans' deliberate focus on polarizing social issues, Broken Government is a must-have book for voters this election year.