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The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (2014)

af John W. Dean

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1262165,051 (4.07)1
"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?"--Amazon.com.… (mere)

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August 8, 1974 was not even two weeks after my eleventh birthday, and it is the first time I recall being aware that what I was experiencing was history. We were listening to Richard Nixon resign on the car radio as we drove. However, it was not until I read John Dean’s The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He It that I grasped the magnitude of that history.

Of course one of the early shivers that traveled my spin was that Nixon had nuclear codes mid-cold war. It’s never a good thing to have this much extinction building power in the hands of a man living so closely to the border of the Land of the Sociopath. The destruction wrought by Nixon has been much slower acting than the weapons invented by Oppenheimer et al, but no less damaging as cynicism fallout continues to pollute America.

Less than fifty years from the worst political corruption in Presidential history, the current administration has been discovered tapping the phones of the Associated Press, using the IRS to harass political enemies, and spying on Congressional committees, even though they are controlled by the same party. The expectations of our political leaders have become so low that as a nation our response has been little more than a yawn. More people trust as a source of their news creators of political humor than reporters of political significance. The noble definitions of liberalism and conservatism have become little more than rotten eggs we hurl at each other.

One of the things I like about Dean’s book is that he does not attempt to connect Nixon to a legacy, but rather simply reports his experience, and what he has learned since in listening to the Nixon tapes. There may be an argument that Dean comes off to clean in the book, but he certainly doesn’t deny his role in the cover-up. Let’s face it, Dick Nixon may have been many things, but entertaining is not one of them, and so from time to time, the book is as dry as Nixon himself.

While The Nixon Defense does not allow you to hide from this dark chapter in our history, it does offer perspective into just how fragile this right of freedom truly is, as well as the opportunity for gratitude that Nixon did not suffocate the liberty we Americans hold so dear. ( )
  lanewillson | Nov 9, 2014 |
This is an amazingly detailed look into the White House during the months after the Watergate break-in. Dean provides a thorough examination of the tapes, notes, and diaries from all parties involved, and I appreciate that he let the facts speak for themselves rather than give an opinion on what they thought. This should be a must read for anyone interested in Presidential history or the break-in.

Free review copy. ( )
  mrmapcase | Aug 26, 2014 |
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It occurs to me that at this point the central question . . . is simply put: What did the president know and when did he know it? 

Question asked by Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., during the testimony of John W. Dean before the Senate Watergate Committee, June 28, 1973
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This book is dedicated to the staff of the National Archives and Records Administration, who made it possible to locate and listen to former President Richard Nixon's self-reported conversations relating to Watergate.
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The report of the arrests in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972, of five men who had broken into the Watergate complex offices of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), wearing business suits and surgical gloves, their pockets stuffed with hundred-dollar bills, was like something from a scene from a circa 1940 low-budget black-and-white gangsters B movie.
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"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?"--Amazon.com.

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