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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Little did President Johnson imagine that one of his legacies would be an outstanding audiobook. But the recordings of his phone conversations provide authenticity that can't be found in print transcripts. Historian Michael Beschloss sets the stage with a clear presentation of the tumultuous issues of the mid 1960s, but Johnson steals the show with emotional, earthy, and crude conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, and others. Hearing LBJ negotiate, flatter, and scold is like being a fly on the wall in the White House. — Beth Anderson
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Publisher's Summary

As Reaching for Glory opens, LBJ is campaigning for the greatest presidential landslide in history. To win, he hands embarrassing secrets about Barry Goldwater to friendly reporters. When Johnson's closest aide is arrested in a sex scandal, he tries to keep it from exploding before the election. This audiobook reveals the secret history of how Lyndon Johnson took us step by step, often by stealth, into Vietnam. While publicly boasting that there will be victory in Vietnam, he privately worries that the war can never be won and that it will crush his presidency. He foresees the backlash against the war, civil rights, and the Great Society that will bring Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to power.
Reaching for Glory lets us hear LBJ's private telephone conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy just after her husband's assassination. It allows us to live at Lyndon Johnson's side, day by day, through the dramatic, triumphant, catastrophic, and pivotal year of a turbulent presidency that continues to affect all of our lives.
Hear more recordings of presidential phone calls with the American RadioWorks documentary, White House Tapes: The President Calling.
©2001 Michael R. Beschloss, Alll Rights Reserved (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc., AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jonah on 01-28-03

An intimate glimpse into history

What an amazing audio experience. Having the opportunity to listen to President Lyndon Johnson's conversations with some of the most powerful figures in the world at that time has inspired a new love for me of history and brings about a new light to the Civil Rights movements in the 60's and the Vietnam War. Getting to actually listen to Martin Luther King Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, etc. seemed almost surreal to me and I had to double check that these were actual recordings. They are and I pity anyone that actually read the book instead of listening to the actual audio itself. I only wish I could listen to more of these type of recordings.

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34 of 35 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By amazonman on 03-17-04

Eavesdropping on US History

Eavesdropping on US History
Date: Mar 07,2004

This audiobook is amazing and at times mesmerizing in its content. You feel as though you are eavesdropping on private conversations of historic significance. It enables the listener to almost hear LBJ's inner thoughts as he struggles with some of the most wrenching issues of modern US history, including the Vietnam dilemma and the civil rights movement. LBJ is revealed as a complex figure with myriad dimensions. He seems painfully insecure and almost paranoid in the shadow of Kennedy's legacy--yet visionary in his advocacy of a new America. He is a powerful legislative and personal advocate for the rights of Black Americans, yet marred by his own dark predujices. He is tortured by the ever deteriorating morass of Vietnam, yet unable to summon the will to withdraw in "disgrace." LBJ is revealed as a consummate politician playing every side and manipulating friends and foes for his own agenda. He seems almost a Shakespearean figure paralyzed by Vietnam, his obsession with outside opinion and his own deep personal flaws. At times he is arrogant and seemingly in complete control, at other times he is a worried, depressed, and exhausted wreck, seemingly unequal to the weight of a presidency beset with unending crises at home and abroad. Bechloss does a masterful job of editing what must have been thousands of hours of taped conversations. His ability to put each piece in context makes this fascinating history come alive. The listener hears conversations with some of the most important historical figures of the 1960s, including Martin Luther King, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Macnamara. Excerpts from Lady Bird Johnson's diaries add colorful personal flavor. Don't read this book-- listen to it and the other two volumes on audiobook. It is an incredible experience

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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