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Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes 1963 1964 Paperback – September 18, 1998
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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.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
comprehensive tape to be excellent. This is
The Good Lyndon at his best - when the
'threat' of the impending 1964 election kept
him (relatively) honest. No taking it away from
the man, he was one awesome character, one
who *filled* the space he occupied.
Vietnam moments in these conversations -
esp. those in the tape version, which gives the
feel of being a wiretapper on the president's
private line - are heart-rending. It all mightn't
have happened. Johnson foresaw the
consequnces of escalating the war, and yet
he proceeded. We'll have to await Beschloss's
*next* book/tape to understand why.
A great read and an even better listen. Pick up
the tape version for drive-time.
I am looking forward to more volumes on the LBJ tapes. This book covers less than one year of the president's time in office. The escalation of the war in Vietnam and what LBJ has to say about it on tape will be interesting to find out.
Author Michael Beschloss does a great job using footnotes to clarify exactly what is being talked about. This is a good read for those who like the "cut and dried" uncensored style of reading. You can't argue with actual spoken words!
Johnson has fared a little better than Nixon viz. the results of such executive record keeping. In the case of excerpts chosen by Michael Beschluss for these tapes (and as the review title suggests, do by the audio version), there is no criminal activity uncovered. Instead, we hear things as diverse as conversations with Martin Luther King about the Civil Rights Act, arm-twisting of Southern Democrats to get that and other progressive laws passed, chilly exchanges between the President and Attorney General Robert Kennedy after President Kennedy's death, and a hilarious exchange with a flabbergasted New York tailor as Johnson asks the tailor to make trousers for him, describing exactly how they should fit around the Presidential....er, anatomy. Of course, there are heartfelt conversations with both Jacqueline and Rose Kennedy immediately after President Kennedy's death. In one very sweet exchange, Jackie refers to media criticism of his calling her "honey" as they flew with the president's body from Dallas to Washington. Kennedy insisted she felt positive about the term of endearment."Honey is loving word, a wonderful word," she tells him.
The 35th President comes across with a multifaceted personality: the dogged politician who won't take no for an answer (and won't forget a favor given); the Texas rancher who doesn't believe in coddling his dogs; the old fashioned Southern gentleman who addressed female officials with charm and not a little flirtation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book for research. I am using it for an article I am writing. It covers many different topics and gives a clear insight to LBJ's thinking on issues and the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Big D
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 on June 21, 2014 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