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Conservatives Without Conscience Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (July 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670037745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670037742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean, who served as White House counsel under Richard Nixon and then helped to break the Watergate scandal with his testimony before the Senate, takes a vivid and analytical look at a Republican Party that has changed drastically from the conservative movement that he joined in the mid-1960s as an admirer of Senator Barry Goldwater. Listen to our interview with Dean as part of our July 13 Amazon Wire podcast (along with interviews with Garrison Keillor and Henry Rollins) to hear how he originally conceived of the book with the late Senator Goldwater, and the social science research he drew on to put together his portrait of the "conservative authoritarian." (You can subscribe to regular Wire podcasts here.) And take a look at Dean's choices for the best books to read on the American presidency in our Grownup School feature.

From Publishers Weekly

In his seventh book, Dean, the former Nixon legal counsel whom the FBI has called the "master manipulator" of the Watergate coverup, weighs in with a rebuke to Christian fundamentalists and other right-wing hard-liners. A self-described Goldwater conservative (indeed, Goldwater had planned to collaborate on this book before his death), he rails against the influence of social conservatives and neoconservatives within his party. Suffused with bitterness stemming from the controversies in which he has been embroiled, Dean's book paints a thin social science veneer over a litany of mostly ad hominem complaints. Purporting to show that social conservatives and neoconservatives are, on the whole, demonstrably authoritarian, bigoted, irrational and amoral, Conservatives Without Conscience offers helpful hints such as "Conservatives without conscience do not have horns and tails," and evinces a telling fascination with politicians' shady book deals. Though there is clearly much to condemn in the policies and tactics Dean deplores, assailing everyone from French political theorist Joseph de Maistre to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to the chairman of Yale University's conservative association as "Double High" social- dominance-oriented authoritarians undermines his journalistic credibility. Dean's lurid accusations may be entertaining, but they add little to the reasoned debate that Washington so sorely lacks today. (July 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

I think both conservatives and liberals should read this book.
Beach Books and Music
I think John Dean has written an excellent book explaining the current political situation well and the historical perspective of how we got here.
S. Bloomingcamp
Some claim that John Dean's book "Conservatives Without Conscience" is a biased political polemic.
William A. Barrett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Mike Azollini on July 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dean is a noted conservative who believed in Nixon's ideals yet questioned his methods. This book is not a knock on the ideals of conservatism, but again on the methods used by the white house. I grew up during Watergate and know many people who were followed and bugged for years. Their only crime was to participate in antiwar demonstrations. A few were involved in the civil rights movement too. There were important lessons for the country and unfortunately many people feel that the ends justify the means. Dean uses facts to illustrate the current admin's propensity to do whatever they like, regardless of the constitutional procedures and limits to the scope of power. Just because you agree with an admin's policies doesn't mean that circumventing democracy is right. Dean made a lot of mistakes but at least he saw the failings of a government that hounded those that disagreed with their policies and used their power for personal vendettas. The book gives good evidence of how the Bush administration is turning towards authoritarism. Several people are ranting that Dean has no credibility, but I could argue that Bush and Cheney are also suspect. These are not the rantings of Dean, but there are facts to document the methods and effects of the executive branch. A good read and an important book for our time.
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115 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on August 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In "Conservatives Without Conscience," author John Dean makes the observation that seemingly good people will do unconscionable even criminal acts, and put their consciences aside without guilt. Dean wants to know why, and he provides a hypothesis to explain why some will lead people in this direction, and explain why others are willing to follow them.

The author may be well-suited for such a task. As White House Counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, and an admitted Barry Goldwater conservative, he was surrounded by the Watergate Investigation, in which White House staffers conducted burglary, perjury, obstruction of justice, and other crimes, or knew of them, or concealed them, all in the name of their leader, Richard Nixon.

John Dean relies heavily on the work of a social psychologist, Dr. Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba, who has done much work on the theory of authoritarianism. According to Dean, Altemeyer's work in this area has been officially recognized, and he is considered an expert in the field.

Dr Altemeyer categorizes authoritarians as followers and leaders to varying degrees. What he also found was that authoritarians are likely to maintain certain beliefs about themselves which include a deep belief in God, patriotic, conservative, and see themselves as being more moral, ethical, honest, and better people than others in general. Their behavior however, is likely to be less honest, loyal or ethical than others.

Dean attempts to apply this to our modern day politicians of whom he is very selective. He finds a match between Altemeyer's theories and list of traits in people like Dick Cheney whom he contends is the real president, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Bill Frist, Tom Delay and others.
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158 of 174 people found the following review helpful By majestikmoose9 on July 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
John Dean's latest book manages to question his own former political ideals years after they have evolved into something reminiscent of authoritarian rule.

For those of you who complain just to say "conservatives are always right and liberals are always wrong," you aren't going to like this book because you are clearly not an open-minded and intelligent person. I consider myself to be conservative, but I promise you that the facts stated in this book will not offend anyone. As a matter of fact, this really is Dean's most scientific and unbiased book to date.

Bottom line: for you intellectuals and open-minded people, you will find this a fascinating read. For those of you who are going to bash anything that perhaps challenges your own personal beliefs, avoid this book. But don't give it a poor rating just because you are a conservative.
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560 of 638 people found the following review helpful By Roy Chan on July 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In his book, "Conservative Without Conscience," John Dean employs his distinctive knowledge and understanding of Washington politics to examine the conservative radical Republican leaders - from Capitol Hill to Pennsylvania Avenue to K Street and beyond. The author not only highlights specific right-wing-driven GOP policies but also probes the conservative mind-set, identifying recurring qualities such as the unbridled viciousness toward those daring to disagree with them, as well as the big business favoritism that costs taxpayers billions. Dean identifies specific examples of how court packing is seeking to form a judiciary that is activist by its very nature, how religious piety is producing politics run amok, and how concealed indifference to the founding principles of liberty and equality is pushing America further and further from its constitutional foundations. To not give away the details, this is a perfect book for those who want to know what's happening at the top levels of the Republican Party. The author presents his text to show what the current right-wing authoritarian is thinking when conflated with the dominating personalities of the conservative leadership that could take the United States toward its own version of fascism. This is a MUST READ book for those who want to learn more about the United States Republican Party and its effect to our society. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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