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Whatever his reasons (and despite Johnson's desire that the documentation remain sealed until at least 2023), the tapes are a boon to students of politics and history. Masterfully edited and annotated by presidential historian Michael Beschloss, they reveal a quintessential political animal at work. It's fascinating to listen in as Johnson works the levers--cajoling, trading favors, calling in chits, twisting arms, and occasionally playing rough--often in a pungent, earthy Texas patois. The book covers the period from November 1963 through the Democratic convention in August 1964, when Johnson was nominated for reelection. Its biggest single revelation is that Johnson believed Fidel Castro was behind Kennedy's assassination; another, less sensational, is that his reservations about the deepening war in Vietnam were greater than previously known. Most importantly, though, these tapes provide an invaluable, uncensored look into a complex presidency--and president. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A little bit difficult to read because it is in such small bits, but definitely some important years. I would be even more interested in the next couple years as Vietnam exploded. Read morePublished 2 months ago by R.L.D.
I actually was fortunate enough to buy this as a tape first then a book last, I'll say the book is very faithful to the tapes. Read morePublished on February 16, 2011 by Pete
I'd have to imagine that writing a book like this is not as easy as some would assume; not only does the author need to transcribe tapes that are nearly a half-century old, but the... Read morePublished on January 18, 2007 by Matthew Rozsa
"Taking Charge" is another outstanding book from the great presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Read morePublished on December 23, 2005 by Vince Palamara
Lyndon Baines Johnson was a lot of things, but couth wasn't one of them. After starting his presidency by calling Rose Kennedy, the mother of his murdered predecessor, to offer... Read morePublished on September 24, 2004 by Bill Slocum
The transcripts included here are fascinating. Especially those related to the Kennedy Assassination and the Gulf of Tonkin. Read morePublished on March 23, 2004 by Craig Matteson
I ranked this book with one star only because zero stars is not an option. The Author, Michael Beschloss is a member of the super-evil Council on Foreign Relations (CFR,) a secret... Read morePublished on February 8, 2004
I have general interest in the Presidency so I was interested in this book to see what the unedited / un-spun conversations in the Oval office are really like. Read morePublished on June 27, 2002 by John G. Hilliard
A marvel this book is. LBJ in his outsize character comes through, its flaws and brilliance both. The folksy and earthy Texan and the finetuned DC-powermachine exist next to one... Read morePublished on March 27, 2002 by pgk