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Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965by Michael R. Beschloss
Synopses & Reviews
Transcribing, editing, and explaining the most powerful moments from hundreds of hours of newly released LBJ tapes, Michael Beschloss has added another lasting treasure to the American historical record. andlt;Iandgt;Reaching for Gloryandlt;/Iandgt; exposes the inner workings of the Johnson presidency from the summer of 1964 through the summer of 1965. andlt;BRandgt; From behind the scenes, you will hear Johnson pulling the strings of his presidential campaign against Barry Goldwater and pursuing his feud with the new senator Robert Kennedy. He agonizes over Martin Luther King, Jr., and the bloody march on Selma, Alabama, and twists arms on Capitol Hill to pass voting rights, Medicare, and more basic laws than any American president before or since. Above all, you will hear him sending young Americans off to Vietnam while privately insisting that the war can never be won. andlt;BRandgt; Winding Johnson's voice and exclusive excerpts from Lady Bird Johnson's private diaries into a gripping narrative, Michael Beschloss provides context and historical insights, showing how profoundly LBJ changed the presidency and the country. andlt;Iandgt;Reaching for Gloryandlt;/Iandgt; allows us to live at Lyndon Johnson's side, day by day, through the dramatic, triumphant, and catastrophic year of a turbulent presidency that continues to affect us all.
"Reaching for Glory provides an incomparable portrait of a president at work, and the workings of a president's mind." George Stephanopoulos, The New York Times
"This is American political history as it actually plays, a voyeur's delight and a historian's feast, and it's undeniably entertaining, at least from the distance of a few decades." Jim Lewis, The Village Voice
Beschloss has transcribed and selected the most stunning moments from hundreds of hours of newly-released LBJ tapes to give us - with commentary and historical context - treasures of permanent interest to historians and readers.The book exposes the inner workings of LBJ's Presidency during its most critical stage, from the fall of 1964 through most of 1965. During these months, LBJ changed America in a way that affects all of our lives today. He took personal command of the revolution for civil rights, escalated the Vietnam War beyond the point of no return and, in the high summer solstice of the Great Society, passed more monumental laws than any President in history, starting with Medicare.The book provides story after story that shows us Lyndon Johnson unplugged. From beyond the scenes, he micromanages his Presidential campaign and defends himself against charges of scandal. On Election Night, he acts to ensure that Americans will not see his victory, the greatest in history, as merely a landslide against Barry Goldwater. His vendetta against the new Senator Robert Kennedy gathers steam.
Reaching for Glory lets us eavesdrop on LBJ's private, often tortured thoughts during the most crucial year of his presidency — when his dreams of being hailed as the equal of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt were destroyed by the war in Vietnam.
As Reaching for Glory opens, LBJ is campaigning for the greatest presidential landslide in history. To win, he hands embarrassing secrets about Barry Goldwater to friendly reporters. When Johnson's closest aide is arrested in a sex scandal, he tries to keep it from exploding before the election.
This audiobook reveals the secret history of how Lyndon Johnson took us step by step, often by stealth, into Vietnam. While publicly boasting that there will be victory in Vietnam, he privately worries that the war can never be won and that it will crush his presidency. He foresees the backlash against the war, civil rights, and the Great Society that will bring Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to power.
Reaching for Glory lets us hear LBJ's private telephone conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy just after her husband's assassination. It allows us to live at Lyndon Johnson's side, day by day, through the dramatic, triumphant, catastrophic, and pivotal year of a turbulent presidency that continues to affect all of our lives.
About the Author
Michael Beschloss has been called by Newsweek "the nation's leading presidential historian." Author of five previous books on American presidents, he is a frequent lecturer and regular commentator on ABC News and PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Born in Chicago, he is a trustee of the White House Historical Association, the National Archives Foundation, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Prologue: "Jackie, I Love You!" 11
1 Mudslinging Campaign 25
2 Sex Scandal in the Throne Room 54
3 A Landslide Can't Buy Happiness 103
4 Girding for Battles 135
5 "I Don't See Any Way of Winning" 166
6 "It May Look Like I'm Stirring Up These Marches" 197
7 "The Kids Are Led by Communist Groups" 251
8 "Do We Let Castro Take Over?" 297
9 "I Don't Believe They're Ever Going to Quit" 343
10 "We Know It's Going to Be Bad" 378
Epilogue: Riding on a Crest 418
Editor's Note 429
Cast of Characters 435
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