Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965

by Michael R. Beschloss

Paperback, 2002




Simon & Schuster (2002), Edition: Reprint, 480 pages


"Reaching for Glory is a mesmerizing journey into the inner psychological and emotional life of a frightened, lonely, driven, suspicious man. The Johnson of the secret tapes sees hidden enemies all around him. Disloyal aides are flirting with his nemesis, Senator Robert Kennedy. In Johnson's conspiratorial mind, Communists are behind the Vietnam demonstrations on college campuses. The Soviet Ambassador is manipulating U.S. Senators to oppose the war. Right-wing fanatics are behind black rioters in Los Angeles."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

User reviews

LibraryThing member ohernaes
The short introductions and the original tapes gives a great closeness to the history.

Continuous agonizing over the uncertainty and what to do in Vietnam, despite boasting public statements and taking the US ever deeper into the war, is the theme that goes through the whole book. Also important is of course the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory voting registration practices occurring in many Southern states. Johnson seemed like a man that had a difficult time to change course when people expected that he would continue on the set path. The book gives a good feeling of the messiness of politics, there were always questions about the verifiability of information and uncertainty regarding the consequences of different actions, issues that are often not so prevalent in other political stories.

It would have been interesting to hear some more of the animosity between Johnson and Robert Kennedy.

Tested ideas' popularity with polls.

Johnson's "Great Society" implemented historical progressive measures in the US, in poverty reduction, education, health care and other areas, and perhaps above all in civil rights, including banning of discrimination, segregation and certain voter-qualification tests. However it is Vietnam that he will probably be remembered for.
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