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Launching the War on Poverty: An Oral History (Oxford Oral History Series) [Paperback]

Michael L. Gillette
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 9, 2010 0195387279 978-0195387278 2
Head Start, Job Corps, Foster Grandparents, College Work-Study, VISTA, Community Action, and the Legal Services Corporation are familiar programs, but their tumultuous beginning has been largely forgotten. Conceived amid the daring idealism of the 1960s, these programs originated as weapons in Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, an offensive spearheaded by a controversial new government agency. Within months, the Office of Economic Opportunity created an array of unconventional initiatives that empowered the poor, challenged the established order, and ultimately transformed the nation's attitudes toward poverty. In Launching the War on Poverty, historian Michael L. Gillette weaves together oral history interviews with the architects of the Great Society's boldest experiment. Forty-nine former poverty warriors, including Sargent Shriver, Adam Yarmolinsky, and Lawrence F. O'Brien, recount this inside story of unprecedented governmental innovation. The interviews capture the excitement and heady optimism of Americans in the 1960s along with their conflicts and disillusionment. This new edition of Launching the War on Poverty adds the voice of Lyndon Johnson to the story with excerpts from his recently-released White House telephone conversations. In these colorful and brutally candid conversations, LBJ exercises his full arsenal of presidential powers, political leverage, and legendary persuasiveness to win one of his most difficult legislative battles. The second edition also documents how the OEO's offspring survived their volatile origins to become broadly supported features of domestic policy.

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Launching the War on Poverty: An Oral History (Oxford Oral History Series) + The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980
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Editorial Reviews


"Launching the War on Poverty in its revised form will continue to provide specialists in the areas of public policy and the domestic reforms of the 1960s with an important record of one of the most ambitious programs of Johnson's Great Society." --Sound Historian

"Michael Gillette has assembled in the words of the participants the inside story of how Lyndon Johnson mounted his war on poverty and created the Office of Economic Opportunity. This book offers the reader a unique seat at the tables in Washington where the poverty program was conceived, written into law and carried out. It is an invaluable and exciting look at history the way it really happened."- Hon. Joseph A. Califano Jr., chief assistant for domestic affairs to President Lyndon B. Johnson (1965-1969) and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1977-1979)

"An indispensable guide to the federal war on poverty and the programs that formed its core. This is oral history at its finest." - David M. Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Polio: An American Story

"An excellent collection." -- CHOICE

About the Author

Michael L. Gillette directed the LBJ Library's Oral History Program from 1976 to 1991. He subsequently served as director of the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives for twelve years and is currently executive director of Humanities Texas, the state humanities council.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Oral History Series
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (July 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195387279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195387278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rivitation February 12, 2000
It was a riviting joy ride. A sensual flavor of power, politics, and the American way. It changed my life and my view of Lyndon Johnson.Michael Gillette definetely has a bright writing future. The rivitation of this book leaves me frozen like a deer in headlights! I recommand this book to everyone!
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