Current Events & History

Read John Dean's author note about his new book, The Nixon Defense

The Nixon Defense

Read an exclusive letter from John Dean, who served on Nixon's White House Counsel. This fascinating look at Watergate is an in-depth look at one of America's greatest scandals from a first-hand perspective.

Dear Reader,
This is my third book with Viking/Penguin, and working with this organization is a wonderful experience, an author’s delight. Let me explain why this is true with this new book—The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.

I wrote this book to understand how someone as politically savvy and intelligent as former President Richard Nixon could destroy his presidency over a bungled burglary and bugging at the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. He was not personally responsible for this disaster, yet he became deeply involved in the cover up. He created a series of bogus defenses that ultimately ended his presidency.

Because I served as Nixon’s White House counsel, not to mention my testimony was integral to his fall, I knew much of what was going on, but very little about what occurred behind the president’s closed door. I did not deal with Nixon on Watergate until seven months after the June 17, 1972, arrests at the Watergate. When we started meeting, the cover up was in place, although it was starting to come apart. Among a number of matters I had never understood was how and why Nixon developed his increasingly risky and fictitious defenses. In all these years no one had really examined or explained Nixon’s behavior, notwithstanding the fact that the information is available. I knew it could be found in Nixon’s secretly self-recorded conversations.

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