DANGER ZONES is the autobiography of JOHN GUNTHER DEAN, a
career Foreign Service officer, five-time U.S. ambassador, and a
leading diplomat of the twentieth century. Published by New
Academia Publishing, his book is the 12th in the ADST Memoirs
and Occasional Papers Series. It is drawn from documents, including
the author’s oral history, now housed in the U.S. National Archives
at the Carter Center Library in Atlanta.
Over the course of his action-packed career, Dean found himself
embroiled in controversy in hot spots in Asia and the Middle East.
On one of several stints in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, he worked
with the U.S. military as deputy for CORDS in Central Vietnam and
helped to protect the famous Cham Museum in Danang, the leading tourist attraction in Vietnam
today. In Laos, he brokered the deal that ended a war, and he faced down an attempted coup
d’état in 1973 against the neutralist regime of Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. In Cambodia,
he was the last man out on April 12, 1975, on the last helicopter that left Phnom Penh as Khmer
Rouge forces approached the city. In Lebanon, where he was nearly assassinated in an ambush,
he reached out to all factions and promoted the idea of one Lebanon. As an activist diplomat
throughout his career, he worked hard to bring people together to avoid bloodshed.
“John Dean’s memoir, written with charm and formidable historical insight, is a
thoroughly readable, even fascinating, account of his life and experiences as one of
America’s top twentieth-century diplomats. Born in Breslau, Germany, raised in
Kansas City, educated at Harvard, he served in Army intelligence in World War II and
pursued a long career in diplomacy that culminated in five consecutive
ambassadorships. An activist by nature, undeterred by controversy, he consistently
spoke truth to power. In assessing policies and how to achieve them, he adhered to two
basic principles: promote America’s best interests, and rely on diplomacy instead of
war. Though not always popular, Dean’s views reveal his unquestioned intelligence,
honesty, and integrity.”
–– ROBERT V. KEELEY, author, publisher, career diplomat, and
former U.S. ambassador to Greece
“Ambassador Dean comes across in this memoir exactly as he is––a dedicated and
talented man deeply proud of his record in the practice of American diplomacy.”
–– BRUCE LAINGEN, U.S. ambassador (ret.) and former
president, American Academy of Diplomacy
JOHN GUNTHER DEAN emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1938 at age 12.
Following service in military intelligence in World War II and graduation from Harvard, he
served on the Marshall Plan staff in Paris and opened the first U.S. diplomatic missions in
Togo and in Mali. In 1970–72 he was Deputy for CORDS in Danang, Vietnam, then chargé
in Laos (1972–73). He was the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia (1974–75), Denmark (1975–
78), Lebanon (1978–81), Thailand (1981–85), and India (1985–89). He now resides in Paris.
–– AN ADST MEMOIRS AND OCCASIONAL PAPERS SERIES BOOK ––