Customer Reviews


28 Reviews
5 star:
 (21)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and compelling
First of all, this book is just a great read. Risen is a talented story-teller, the prose flows easily. But more than that, it is an important read. Risen argues -- very convincingly -- that the '64 Civil Rights Act is not just the story of LBJ, MLK, and historical inevitability. It is a much more interesting tale, full of rich characters both inside and outside of...
Published 7 months ago by L. Drutman

versus
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as great as other reviews say it is
Having read Robert Caro's books on LBJ, I find it interesting that the author states that LBJ was not the main driver of getting this act into law.
There are specific examples in Caro's book where LBJ forces Smith to get the bill out of committee.
In Risen's version, it just happens.

Comparing the books, I tend to believe Caro's telling of events vs...
Published 7 months ago by Jojopuppyfish


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and compelling, April 5, 2014
By 
L. Drutman (Washington, DC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
First of all, this book is just a great read. Risen is a talented story-teller, the prose flows easily. But more than that, it is an important read. Risen argues -- very convincingly -- that the '64 Civil Rights Act is not just the story of LBJ, MLK, and historical inevitability. It is a much more interesting tale, full of rich characters both inside and outside of government, full of unpredictable maneuvers with often unexpected and surprising outcomes. It is also a story of how the legislative process can work to achieve great and lasting changes, despite (or perhaps because of) its messiness and the flaws of its participants. Fifty years after the passage of this bill, it is a story worth re-visiting -- not only because of the historical enormity of the outcome; Not only because, when told so ably, it makes a great story; But also because, in our current time of legislative gridlock, it reminds us that Congress doesn’t have to be perfect in order to accomplish big things.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Do Want to Know Want to Know How the Sausage is Made..., April 1, 2014
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
The Bill of the Century is a thorough look at one of the great legislative accomplishments in American history. Risen's book offers a needed counterpoint to the idea that the government isn't set up for the people. The horse-trading, arm-twisting, and across-the-aisle-uniting to bring equality to all citizens is riveting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important reading, April 4, 2014
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson, who famously worked on the law with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What this book goes a long way to show is that the law's passage was far more complicated, and it involved events in which practically the whole nation participated. Mr. Risen's book is masterful in the way it reveals the complexity of the years leading up to the bill's signing, and what some of the immediate results were. The author shares this history in a methodical, highly researched and intelligent way, but his gift for storytelling shines through. The writing is smart without losing accessibility; readable without being condescending.
I was most interested to learn about many of the lesser known individuals that participated in the marches or behind-the-scenes political wrangling that brought the bill to Johnson's desk. These glimpses into the lives of those generally overlooked by history books helped ground my reading in the time period, and the events of 1963-64 felt alive and present. That's no small task for any history writer, but Risen pulls it off with confidence.
This book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the Civil Rights movement in America, and how one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation came to be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Depth and a Great Read, April 2, 2014
By 
Alex O (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
I was lucky enough to get access to an advanced copy of Mr. Risen's new book and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Much as he did in his previous book, A Nation on Fire: America In The Wake of the King Assassination, Mr. Risen gives the reader an astonishing degree of depth and detail, often tracing the arc of various events on a day-by-day basis. Such detail provides a terrifically immersive experience for the reader, at times even giving the impression of being a "fly on the wall" at pivotal historical moments, and hints at an enormous degree of research by the author. The complex political maneuverings that were required for passage of the Civil Rights Bill are a fascinating study of motives, power plays, favors being offered and called in, and outright arm-twisting among a numerous and vastly disparate set of individuals, organizations, and constituencies that trumps anything you'd find in House of Cards. Furthermore, Risen does an excellent job of putting this bill, its creation, and its passage, in historical context, as well as analyzing its myriad impacts. This is an essential read for anyone interested in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as anyone with a passion for American history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep dive into the details of our political process, April 2, 2014
By 
Sameer (Brooklyn, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
This book tells the story of how the Civil Rights Act was passed. It's well-written and engaging. But more than that, it helps those of us Americans born after the Civil Rights movement appreciate and how much political and institutional resistance was in place to preserve inequality, and see how our country has changed, or stayed the same, since.

This book is highly relevant to modern readers. We see different protests now, about different kinds of inequality. And we see a political system that appears in many ways to be nonfunctional. This book provides some hope: that in a similar situation, a generation ago, change was possible. And it wasn't because the political system was any simpler or the sides any less divided than they are now. In fact, the sides were violently opposed in a way we've rarely seen since in the US. Nonetheless, progress: small steps here and there, balanced carefully against the other issues of the day. And then, great crisis, which drove great change.

I recommend this book to readers who appreciate that real systems are complex, who understand that history is never as simple as it seems, and who are looking for a reason to hope that even today, real progress is possible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Story Behind the Story, April 14, 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
There are many ways to examine the history of civil rights in America. You can take the dry, overly pedantic approach, which is often the case. Or you can let Risen tell you the story in a different way, one that brings the fight for all our rights into vivid, living detail.

In this book, Risen demonstrates the unbelievable complexity of figures and actions that allowed the battle for civil rights to be won. We come to think of the great crowds amassed in Washington or crowds of demonstrators being repelled with brutality in Birmingham. Many of us are not aware of the backroom dealings and hidden skirmishes that were also taking place. Risen brings these to light, and shows the confluence of events and ambitions that ultimately came to decide the path of this country.

It's a must-read for historians and any student of civil rights. Only by knowing and remembering the efforts and strategies needed to overcome so much will we appreciate how much work still lies ahead.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars legislative thriller, April 4, 2014
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
what I love about this book is it makes the legislative process so exciting. Such huge characters, tackling such a huge transformation in our country is really thrilling, inspiring and emotional. It was also great to be transported to a time when legislators of different parties worked together toward a clear and noble cause. If only todays leaders could be so heroic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Depth, April 14, 2014
This review is from: The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Hardcover)
Mr. Risen once again publishes a fine work backed by his penchant for extensive research, this time focusing on the untold story of the Civil Rights Act, assigning credit to actors often overlooked, forgotten and unknown. Written with a flow and style one wishes more books employed, this is a book that will be included in any future analysis of the history of the Civil Rights Act, but it will be one included in any serious U.S. historian's list of necessary reads as well as the syllabi of college and graduate courses.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, April 13, 2014
Risen's masterful retelling of a seminal event--the passage of the Civil Rights Act--is noteworthy not only for the sheer pleasure it offers the reader, but its subtle correction of the historical record. For too long, all the laurels for the Act have been laid out at LBJ's feet, at the expense of the workhorses in Congress who did just as much, if not more, to steer the bill to success. Here, the spotlight is turned on those giants of Capitol Hill who you might not know about--but should. It's an important, innovative new reading of one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the nation's history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bracing tale that recalls another way to conduct our public business, April 7, 2014
As other reviewers have observed, "Bill of the Century" tells a compelling story populated by a wealth of colorful characters—some still remembered, such as Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barry Goldwater; and others, by now, largely forgotten—including unsung activists, lobbyist and lawyers. To those assessments, I would add another reason to read this book: in our early 21st century, when America's federal government more often than not seems paralyzed by excesses of campaign money, a preoccupation with media, obsessive partisanship and ideological rigidity, this lively narrative, authored by New York Times op-ed editor Clay Risen, offers a bracing tale that recalls an age when enlightened leaders found another way to conduct our public business. It is a story of how liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, came to recognize a national problem—the persistence of Jim Crow segregation in the American South. And how, over time, to vanquish that injustice —working sometimes openly, sometimes behind-the-scenes—they eventually secured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Meticulously researched and beautifully told, I strongly recommend "Bill of the Century" to anyone, specialist or general reader, with an interest in modern U.S. history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act
$28.00 $20.20
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.