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The Making of the President 1964 Paperback – Bargain Price, October 5, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Theodore H. White’s landmark Making of the President series revolutionized American political journalism, investing his subject with both epic scope and a fresh frankness about backroom political strategy that was unlike anything that had come before. In this secondvolume of his groundbreaking series, White offers an intimate chronicleof the 1964 campaign for the White House, from the earthshaking tragedy of President Kennedy’s assassination through the battle for power between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater, whose candidacy paved the way for the modern conservative movement. White reports from within both campaigns, bringing to life a turbulent year in America’s history and a furious contest between two tough and seasoned political pros.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Theodore H. White (1915–1986) was an American political journalist, historian, and novelist, best known for the Making of the President series: his accounts of the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections, all of which are being reissued with new forewords by Harper Perennial Political Classics. His other books include Thunder Out of China, America in Search of Itself, and In Search of History: A Personal Adventure.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reissue edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061900613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061900617
  • ASIN: B0058M71IO
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,381,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In completing "The Making of the President 1964" I have read all of Theodore White's series. I realized after beginning this book that Mr. White was apparently in awe of one of the subjects of his first book in this series; John F. Kennedy. Admittedly, the assasination of President Kennedy was a major event in our history and it certainly had an effect on the election of 1964. However, White portrays JFK as a man far greater than anyone else in the political world of 1963-64. In doing so, he diminishes his credibility. As a youth in those times, I remember the tragedy of Kennedy's assasination. I ALSO remember the awesomeness of President's Johnson's agenda. I won't debate the pros and cons of the "Great Society". I will, however, acknowledge that LBJ got things done that I don't believe JFK could have. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a prime example. It should have been the Civil Rights Act of 1963 but I don't believe that President Kennedy had the influence or power to have accomplished what President Johnson did. Unfortunately, although White makes allowances for the skills of Lyndon Johnson, the recurring theme in this book is that JFK would have been so much better.

Oh, by the way, there was another man who was involved in this race; Senator Barry Goldwater. White's treatment of Goldwater goes somewhat along the line that the Senator was good company in an after hours social gathering but that he was inept politically. White is especially harsh on Goldwater's vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I recall, from reading his autobiography some years ago, that Goldwater opposed the legislation on Constitutional grounds.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For East Coast Americans like myself, 1964 was the Year of the Beatles, New York's World's Fair, and Bob Gibson. It was also a presidential election year, but not so interesting as such, with incumbent Lyndon Baines Johnson running as heir to his martyred predecessor Kennedy against a Sun Belt Republican most saw as a right-wing kook.

"It was over before it began," Theodore H. White acknowledges near the end of his history of the campaign, "The Making Of The President 1964." "The issue had been decided long before - perhaps within minutes of the fatal shot at Dallas."

That shooting in Dallas, almost a year before the election proper, is the setting for the opening of the book, and it offers a vivid account of just what was going on in those chaotic initial minutes and hours after John F. Kennedy's murder. White describes the funeral procession, the carting up of Kennedy's possessions in the Oval Office, and the rent feelings of the nation with sharply-focused prose that reads like poetry.

White seems less engaged in the rest of his narrative. His heart obviously broken by the death of Kennedy, a personal friend, he is at a loss to describe the principal combatants of this campaign. Johnson was an outsider to the Kennedy circle still smarting over the East Coast Establishment types who rejected him. LBJ wouldn't give White so much as a single interview for his book, as White makes clear in a cagey footnote. Barry Goldwater, the Republican challenger, is more welcoming but no less aloof, and inscrutable to White, a moderate liberal who can't fathom how such an extremist got the reins of a major party.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second in a series of four books by Theodore H. White on U.S. presidential campaigns from 1960-1972, and the volume is tougher and less romantic than its best-selling 1960 predecessor. White describes both the political scene and the state of the nation in 1964. To begin, the author looks at President Lyndon Johnson's brief tenure in office following the Kennedy assassination. With the nation at peace and the economy booming, Johnson was practically a shoo-in for re-election. So the author concentrates heavily on the conservative insurgency that got Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona the Republican nomination. White does an equally good job describing the state of the nation that year, particularly the increasingly successful Civil Rights movement and the increasingly tragic violence and dysfunction of the black underclass. White also missed cues like the conservative ascendancy in the GOP, and the turn of the South to the GOP because of racial issues. Additionally, the author's admiration for Johnson seems to have shielded him from the man's enormous ego - a weakness that can drag leaders and nations into trouble.

Author Theodore H. White (1915-1986) was a superb political journalist, and few have ever matched his chronicles of U.S. politics. This book isn't his best effort, but it's clearly a valuable one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. White's chronology of the 1964 Presidential race was published in 1965. Our nation was still in shock over the murder of President Kennedy, the Cold War was in full swing, the Civil Rights Movement with multiple race riots was front and center and television news was coming into its own as a powerful, sensationalistic, social medium. The author starts off the book with a riveting account of JFK's assassination which sets the tone for the remainder of the book. It is well-known that Mr. White was enamoured of the Kennedys and it clearly shows in how he portrays them. But beyond his bias and liberal inclinations, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist does an outstanding job describing the 1964 run for the White House. Little did Mr. White know that Senator Barry Goldwater's shellacking by President Johnson was the first stirrings of the future Reagan Revolution and that LBJ's presidency would collapse under the storm brewing in Vietnam. The reader will come to understand the power struggle between the Eastern, liberal GOP establishment vs the evergrowing Southern and Western mindset. He does a commendable job of describing both Southern politicians and how their philosophical attitudes about the role of government were very different. The book captures the feel of the times, the behind-the-scenes brawls and shows a vibrant economic country struggling with who we are as a nation? This is a civic lesson with flair. I enjoyed it even more than Mr. White's first volume describing the 1960 race between Kennedy and Nixon. A truly great work of reporting and, yes, art.
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