- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Random House; 1st Edition edition (September 23, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400067081
- ISBN-13: 978-1400067084
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 23, 2014
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“Richly detailed . . . Landslide is a vivid retelling of a tumultuous three years in American history, and [Jonathan] Darman captures in full the personalities and motives of two of the twentieth century’s most consequential politicians.”—The New York Times
“Novel and even surprising . . . Landslide deftly reminds readers that Johnson and Reagan both trafficked in grandiose oratory and promoted utopian visions at odds with the social complexity of modern America.”—The Washington Post
“Riveting . . . Darman portrays [Johnson and Reagan] as polar opposites of political attraction. . . . Animated by the artful insight that they were men of disappointment headed toward an appointment with history . . . A tale about myths and a nation that believed them, about a world of a half century ago now gone forever.”—The Boston Globe
“Alert to the subtleties of politics and political history, Darman, a former correspondent for Newsweek, nimbly explores delusion and self-delusion at the highest levels.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Darman] has a deft grasp of Reagan’s and Johnson’s biographies and of the last half-century of American political history. Setting the book as a dual story . . . both rescues the story from the fatalism (for Johnson) and pluck (for Reagan) of biography and refreshes both of their stories by contrasting the simultaneous reversals of their respective political fortunes.”—The Daily Beast
“Darman’s compelling, sweeping narrative explores the myths that Johnson and Reagan invented about themselves. . . . Reminiscent of such spellbinders as Rick Perlstein’s Before the Storm . . . and Jeff Shesol’s Mutual Contempt. . . . This title will engross readers of political history.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Smart and perceptive . . . Darman sizes up the careers of two political powerhouses and craftsmen, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, while claiming that each man’s impressive litany of achievements influenced the historical arc of American leadership. . . . Darman’s sincere and informative approach animates these historic figures, bringing them from the nostalgia of old TV clips and fading newsprint to the forefront of an engaging historical discussion.”—Publishers Weekly
“A rich, fly-on-the-wall narrative. If the current partisan gridlock has you pulling your hair out, this book will help you understand where these ripples originate.”—Booklist
“An intimate chronicle of the 1,000 days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, during which there was a sea change in the American electorate. . . . The author masterfully conveys LBJ’s agony, as well as former actor Reagan’s freewheeling spirit: He was the ‘Errol Flynn of the B movies’ who had aged out of his previous roles and needed a new gig as an American hero. Ambitious, studious portraits pulled together nicely by Darman.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Jonathan Darman turns fresh eyes on two political giants of the late twentieth century, LBJ and Ronald Reagan. Landslide is full of surprises and new insights on these two presidents, and is written with flair. A delicious feast of a read.”—Lesley Stahl
“Masterly . . . In taking us back to a moment in American history when politics worked, Jonathan Darman provides a resonant reality check on a system that now seems all too dysfunctional. The intertwined stories of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan offer us a window on the intrinsic give-and-take that makes governing possible. Anyone who cares about politics, biography, and current affairs will find this a delightful and illuminating book.”—Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
“Jonathan Darman writes with power, sweep, vivacity, and humor. He is at once a gifted storyteller, a keen judge of character, and a genie of political insight. He gives us two giants, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, in all their glory and human vanity, and takes us on a breathtaking thousand-day ride. The relevance to today will be achingly obvious to readers—who will be both riveted and disturbed by this moving, memorable book.”—Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff and Robert Kennedy
“An ingenious and compelling book . . . With astute psychological insight, Jonathan Darman explains the motivations and achievements of these two men, how Lyndon Johnson’s downfall paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s rise, and how their overarching visions of governing became myths that defined the Republican and Democratic parties. Darman connects the dots between the lives of these two iconic characters in a dramatic and original way, offering a fresh perspective as he sweeps the reader through the events of the tumultuous sixties that reverberate to this day.”—Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen and Grace and Power
About the Author
Jonathan Darman is a writer in New York City. He is a former correspondent for Newsweek, where he covered national politics, including John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 and Hillary Clinton’s in 2008. This is his first book.
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Most of the book deals with Johnson's triumphal years between his ascension to the presidency in 1963 and when Vietnam pushed everything else off the agenda by 1966. As the war forced memories of the Civil Rights Act and the Great Society into the past -- and doomed LBJ's dream of outdoing FDR with an even broader social policy agenda -- Reagan began his rise as the new Republican right's great hope after Barry Goldwater's crushing defeat by Johnson.
This book is really mostly about Johnson. The Reagan sections deserve more fleshing out.
Fresh from the Kennedy assassination in 1963, LBJ worked hard at burnishing his own complex personality and was able to push through much of the legislation that JFK had wanted to achieve. The country rewarded him with a landslide victory in November, 1964. But as President Johnson began getting bogged down in Vietnam and many US cities erupted in riots, Ronald Reagan's star began to shine. No longer the "B" actor that most people remembered, he was able to pick up the pieces of the Goldwater disaster and connect with voters. He won the governorship of California in a landslide in 1966.
The Johnson parts of "Landslide" are far more riveting than the Reagan ones, partly because Johnson held power while Reagan was running to get it. But LBJ was a far more complicated person than Reagan to begin with and Darman succeeds in painting this portrait of LBJ as a volatile person wielding power, however, with much success. It's a good book and I recommend it.