The liberal and the conservative. The deal - making arm twister and the cool communicator. The Texas rancher and the Hollywood star. Opposites in politics and style, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan shared a defining impulse: to set forth a grand story of America, a story in which he could be the hero. In the tumultuous days after the Kennedy assassination, Johnson and Reagan each, in turn, seized the chance to offer the country a new vision for the future. Bringing to life their vivid personalities and the anxious mood of America in a radically transformative time, Darman shows how, in promising the impossible, Johnson and Reagan jointly dismantled the long American tradition of consensus politics and ushered in a new era of fracture. History comes to life in Darman's vivid, fly - on - the wall storytelling. From Johnson's election in 1964, the greatest popular - vote landslide in American history, to the pivotal 1966 midterms, when Reagan burst forth onto the national stage, Landslide brings alive a country transformed - by riots, protests, the rise of television, and the shattering of consensus - and the two towering personalities whose choices in those moments would reverberate through the country for decades to come.
©2014 Jonathan Darman (P)2014 Tantor
"The relevance to today will be achingly obvious to [listeners]-who will be both riveted and disturbed by this moving, memorable book." (Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff)
The sections which deal with the way in which Reagan became a candidate and overcame the supposed drawback of his having been an actor
LBJ, he is just such a fascinating individual. So complex and compelling an individual is impossible to ignore.
Learning how LBJ would demand to be involved in the legislative process regardless of the time of day and his telling Larry O'Brien not to fail to call on him for help.
Yes, I knew much of the story already but found myself drawn back in and wanting to finish the journey.
The author could have focused more on Reagan and the conservative movement he led, and slightly less on LBJ
really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of things about LBJ and Ronald Reagan that I didn't know. makes one hopeful comma but also understand reality when it comes to the future of our country.
There is a great feel here for the moment, for phrases to capture it, for details large and small that fit, for the cadence of public events and actors in them, as high drama. Another reviewer has observed the author describes thoughts and nuances of inner life that are not explicitly sourced or documented, thus perhaps speculative to some degree. Yet, in that, this work shines with the author's talents (and deep apprenticeship; this takes immersion in great writers' and speakers' great works, one can hear echoing here). And these excursions into others' thoughts and strategies are consistently, highly credible. Every line has surpassing lyrical grace. As history, for its non-academic style, it is detailed and epic and captivating. I wonder whether this is self-consciously Darman's audition as a presidential speechwriter (he would have the job in a heartbeat if I was deciding it), but this would not detract from its qualities. For long stretches of the book I feel seamlessly as if I am each of the characters, facing their defining moments, deliberating, wary of enemies, scorched by memories and fears of failure, and making those decisions that became history across its biggest canvas. And the choice of the central non-biographical topic is great to me: the biggest of issues that this society has faced, the main competing visions of our economic, social and historical identity. I only wish I had the skills to describe these things as well as Darman does.
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