61 books like Blind Ambition

By John W. Dean,

Here are 61 books that Blind Ambition fans have personally recommended if you like Blind Ambition. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Richard Nixon: The Life

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

In order to understand Watergate, you first have to understand Richard Nixon. This is the best, single-volume biography that chronicles Nixon's life in a balanced and fair way that gives us great insight into his character and motivations. Published in 2017, it is a model of its kind. Farrell attempts neither to vilify Nixon nor to defend him, but to explain him, in the context of his times. He gives us the extraordinary story of the self-made man from a struggling Quaker family in California who rose to the top through his own efforts - and then threw it all away through his own fatal flaws. Many of Nixon's gambles succeeded. Watergate was the one that failed.

By John A. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Richard Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a Sunday Independent Book of the Year

A deeply researched, superbly crafted biography of America's most complex president.

Award-winning biographer John A. Farrell examines the life and legacy of one of America's most controversial political figures, from Nixon's early days in the Navy to his political career as senator, vice president, and finally president, and his downfall in 1974 following the Watergate scandal.

Richard Nixon is a magisterial portrait of the man who embodied post-war American political cynicism - and was destroyed by it.


Book cover of The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

There was no one closer to Richard Nixon as Watergate unfolded than his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. Every evening, Haldeman dictated an audio diary that is an essential source for understanding the Nixon presidency and the chain of events that led to its unraveling. While Haldeman admired Nixon, he was also well aware of his faults. He records the triumphs, failures, and personal quirks of his boss on an almost minute-to-minute basis. I think that Haldeman has it right when he concludes that Nixon did not know about Watergate in advance, in the sense that he did not order the break-in, but certainly caused it, in the sense that he created the culture that spawned all the abuses. Ultimately, these abuses led to Haldeman's own resignation and eighteen months in prison for Watergate-related offenses.

By H.R. Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haldeman Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never-before-published diaries from Richard Nixon's late Chief of Staff offer a meticulously detailed behind-the-scenes account of his years at the White House that included Agnew's resignation, Cambodian bombings, and Watergate.


Book cover of Will The Autobiography Of G. Gordon Liddy

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

Gordon Liddy was an extraordinary character, a swaggering former FBI agent who was on a self-imposed mission to save America from "communism," even if it meant breaking the law. Even Nixon thought that Liddy was "a little nuts" but needed him as part of his campaign to get even with the Democrats and opponents of the war in Vietnam. In heading up the Watergate break-in, Liddy turned out to be a bungling amateur whose incompetence led directly to the failure of the operation. Nevertheless, he wrote one of the best books about Watergate--one that is both entertaining and revealing in its outrageous frankness and colorful descriptions of his fellow conspirators. A self-described admirer of Adolf Hitler, Liddy is a forerunner to the "patriots" who stormed Congress in January 2021 to "defend democracy." = Liddy's 1996 autobiography is key to understanding the mentality that led to Watergate and continues to pose…

Book cover of Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

Had Nixon not taped himself in secret, it is doubtful that he would have been forced to resign as president of the United States. While some of the most incriminating tapes were released as a result of a Supreme Court order, the remainder became the subject of a long legal tussle that continued for several decades. Nobody did more to secure the full release of the tapes than the historian Stanley Kutler who published highlights in his 1997 book, Abuse of Power. The tapes provide a unique insight into the functioning of the modern-day presidency, and Nixon's own personality, that is unlikely ever to be matched. Thanks to Kutler's efforts, we are able to hear Nixon in his own words and feel his pain and bewilderment as his world disintegrates around him.

By Stanley I. Kutler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Abuse of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No President has taped Oval conversations so thoroughly or found himself in as much trouble as Richard Nixon. He and his heirs fought for years to keep hours of these sensitive recordings from ever being released. Now Stanley I. Kutler, an emminent historian and one of the principle parties to the lawsuit that forced the tapes release, has edited and annotated every tape concerning abuses of power from Nixon's entire presidency. Among the breathtaking revelations are evidence of Nixon's direct role in the obstruction of justice during the 'Watergate' investigation to the proposal for a $5 million scheme to secretly…


Book cover of Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History

Scott Kaufman Author Of Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party: A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford

From my list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 16 years old, my father, Burton Kaufman, who is also a historian, took me to the Jimmy Carter Library in Georgia to help him research a book on America's thirty-ninth president. Having had a love of history since the sixth grade, that trip deepened my desire to major in History in college and teach it as a profession. It also made me interested in learning more about the presidency, starting with Carter. Several years ago, I edited a series of essays on both the Ford and Carter presidencies, and realized there was need for an in-depth political biography of our thirty-eighth chief executive. The result was my book on Ford.

Scott's book list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford

Scott Kaufman Why did Scott love this book?

I recommend this book with some caution, as Cannon worked for Ford, and sometimes authors who are too close to their subject will oversee their faults. But what makes Cannon’s work a must-read—and why I found it so helpful to my own research on Ford—is that he was one of the first to devote extensive attention to Ford’s pre-presidential years. Furthermore, he relied not only on archival materials but on dozens of interviews he conducted with people who knew and worked for Ford, as well as interviews with the former president himself. 

By James Cannon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time and Chance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Gerald Ford came to the presidency at the time of one of our nation's greatest constitutional crises, the downfall of President Richard M. Nixon in the aftermath of the Watergate affair. His service as president concluded a distinguished career in the House of Representatives during which he served as leader of the Republican Party in the House. With unrestricted access to Gerald Ford's papers, James M. Cannon tells the story of Ford's rise and Nixon's ruin, providing new insights into this troubling period of our history and Ford's role in guiding the nation through it. Cannon tells the story of…


Book cover of Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America

Warner Blake Author Of J. S. White, Our First Architect: His Surviving Structures from 19th-Century Snohomish

From my list on covering the first draft of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Warner is a multi-disciplinary artist who began with object theatre – writing, designing and building characters, and performing. Now, history writing is his primary focus, having written two books for 14 years, and still counting, writes a monthly blog, combining words and images to tell stories of early Snohomish. 

Warner's book list on covering the first draft of history

Warner Blake Why did Warner love this book?

Just finished listening to this dynamite book read by the author. Dahlia Lithwick demolished the conventions of women lawyers I’ve lived with, by telling us the stories of women who used the law to stand up and overcome the shock of Trump’s administration. 

Remember the infamous “travel ban?” If like me, a surface memory, you may enjoy the tour with lawyer and writer Lithwick, who introduces us to the players in her stories – the lawyers who worked all night in the airports on their laptops to file petitions to the court first thing in the morning, for example. 

Lithwick’s rant on the chant: “Lock Her Up” is worth the price of admission alone. Dynamite. File under First-Draft-of-History.

By Dahlia Lithwick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lady Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times Bestseller!

“Stirring…Lithwick’s approach, interweaving interviews with legal commentary, allows her subjects to shine...Inspiring.”—New York Times Book Review

“In Dahlia Lithwick’s urgent, engaging Lady Justice, Dobbs serves as a devastating bookend to a story that begins in hope.”—Boston Globe

Dahlia Lithwick, one of the nation’s foremost legal commentators, tells the gripping and heroic story of the women lawyers who fought the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of Donald Trump’s presidency—and won

After the sudden shock of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, many Americans felt lost and uncertain. It was clear he and his administration…


Book cover of Being Nixon: A Man Divided

Talmage Boston Author Of Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer Gets Answers from the Experts about Our Presidents

From my list on presidential biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the last eight years, I’ve conducted as many onstage interviews with leading presidential historians as anyone else in the country. To prepare for them, I read presidential biographies thoroughly and constantly. The fact that my work has been strongly endorsed by people in presidential history circles with the stature of Ken Burns, David McCullough, James Baker, Jon Meacham, and Douglas Brinkley should be a strong indication that my opinion about this subject matters.

Talmage's book list on presidential biographies

Talmage Boston Why did Talmage love this book?

Although Nixon has been our most disgraced president, pre-Trump, he (like LBJ) is a marvelously complicated study of a person with major strengths and weaknesses, and a refusal to be defeated by any obstacles or setbacks. Thomas is discerning in his understanding of what made his subject tick—which is quite an achievement.

By Evan Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The landmark New York Times bestselling biography of Richard M. Nixon, a political savant whose gaping character flaws would drive him from the presidency and forever taint his legacy. 

“A biography of eloquence and breadth . . . No single volume about Nixon’s long and interesting life could be so comprehensive.”—Chicago Tribune

One of Time’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Year

In this revelatory biography, Evan Thomas delivers a radical, unique portrait of America’s thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, a contradictory figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. One of the principal architects of the modern Republican Party…


Book cover of Gerald R. Ford: The 38th President, 1974-1977

Scott Kaufman Author Of Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party: A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford

From my list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 16 years old, my father, Burton Kaufman, who is also a historian, took me to the Jimmy Carter Library in Georgia to help him research a book on America's thirty-ninth president. Having had a love of history since the sixth grade, that trip deepened my desire to major in History in college and teach it as a profession. It also made me interested in learning more about the presidency, starting with Carter. Several years ago, I edited a series of essays on both the Ford and Carter presidencies, and realized there was need for an in-depth political biography of our thirty-eighth chief executive. The result was my book on Ford.

Scott's book list on the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford

Scott Kaufman Why did Scott love this book?

There are a number of studies of Ford’s presidency, but there are two reasons why I picked Brinkley’s. First, his was the first book published following Ford’s passing and, consequently, the first full biography of the thirty-eighth president. Second, Gerald R. Ford is part of a series on the presidents published by The New York Times that are specifically aimed at a general audience. While each of the books is short and, therefore, selective insofar as coverage, they are well-written and informative.

By Douglas G. Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gerald R. Ford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis

When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.

Many people today think…


Book cover of Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World

Judy Sheer Watters Author Of The Road Home

From my list on memorable memoirs that speak to you.

Why am I passionate about this?

As bedtime stories, I told our children my personal stories of life on a Pennsylvania farm with a city-slicker father who yearned to be a successful farmer. Growing up in a Jewish orphanage in the early 1900s, he dreamed of someday owning a farm and breathing the fresh air of the country. So many funny stories from the farm encouraged our children to say “Tell me a story when you were little, Mommy,” every night. I decided to write these down and they became my first memoir The Road Home. I love memoir and through my YouTube channel, I encourage others to “Write Your Story for Your Generations to Come.”

Judy's book list on memorable memoirs that speak to you

Judy Sheer Watters Why did Judy love this book?

When I heard Ginny Dent Brant interviewed about her books, I couldn’t wait to purchase them for myself. Finding True Freedom recounts Ginny’s uncertain days of watching her father’s passion for politics. (Lots of well-documented info about his and others’ involvement in Watergate.) But Harry Dent experienced a conversion and left politics for the mission field of Romania. I wouldn’t normally read a book about politics; however, I highly recommend Finding True Freedom as it was a page-turner for me and taught me that true freedom is not the easiest to find, especially in highly charged Washington politics.

By Ginny Dent Brant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding True Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1960s Harry Dent entered political service for love of
country and liberty. Highly successful, Dent became known
as the “Southern Strategist” who helped Nixon win the
United States presidency.
When the Watergate scandal broke and Dent was accused,
his efforts at propagating American freedom seemed wasted.
But Dent was found to be “more of an innocent victim than
the perpetrator.” He could not deny God’s grace: Dent and
Henry Kissinger were the only two of Nixon’s staff not given
prison sentences.
In 1978 Harry Dent embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ
that his daughter Ginny had faithfully lived…


Book cover of Parrot Blues: A Neil Hamel Mystery

GG Collins Author Of Anasazi Medium

From my list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American Southwest never gets old. Exploring any of the Ancestral Pueblo sites is like walking back in time. Anasazi Medium takes the reader there. I love the land and the culture that has brought us to the present. My character, Santa Fe reporter Rachel Blackstone, reflects this. She is sarcastic at times, can be funny, and has her poignant moments as she copes with a “talent” she never wanted. In Anasazi Medium, I concocted a mixture of mystery, Hopi traditions and a journalist’s eye to entertain and inform. What resulted is a climate mystery in the most water-challenged state in the U.S. and a high adventure read. 

GG's book list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land

GG Collins Why did GG love this book?

Divorce lawyer Neil Hamel always seems to do more PI work than law. In Parrot Blues (A Neil Hamel Mystery) by Judith Van Gieson, she tries to locate a missing woman—and an indigo parrot. Oddly, the husband seems more concerned about the bird than his wife, who may be on her way out of the marriage anyway. But with the parrot as the only witness, it’s a tough case to crack. There’s plenty of New Mexico history and vistas to satisfy, but I found the information about birds and smuggling to be eye-opening. Her relationship with the “Kid” adds to Neil’s character. She’s her own woman, doing things her way. That alone gained my respect.

By Judith Van Gieson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parrot Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She may be a divorce lawyer, but Neil Hamel uses her PI's instincts when a millionaire's rare indigo macaw and newly endangered wife are kidnapped together. The unusual search puts her right in the heart of New Mexico's breathtaking Plains of San Agustin, for a dangerous game of bird smuggling and one-upmanship. Armed with high-tech surveillance equipment and a backpack full of her client's money, Neil treks to a remote exchange point. Alas, she returns with the indigo, but no wife, and she's beginning to get ideas. When she learns that one of her chief suspects has suspiciously expired in…


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