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Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 | [Michael R. Beschloss]

Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964

Taking Charge brings you into the room with an American political legend, still hated and revered a quarter century after his death. We hear Lyndon Johnson as he schemes and blusters, rewards and punishes, and reveals a bedrock core of unshakable political beliefs.
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Publisher's Summary

Taking Charge brings you into the room with an American political legend, still hated and revered a quarter century after his death. We hear Lyndon Johnson as he schemes and blusters, rewards and punishes, and reveals a bedrock core of unshakable political beliefs.

The only president to record his private conversations from his first day in office, LBJ ordered these tapes locked in a vault until at least the year 2023. But now they have been unsealed, providing a close-up look at a president taking unprecedented power, from John F. Kennedy's murder in November 1963 to Johnson's campaign for a landslide victory.

Taking Charge is filled with revelations about the full-blooded Texan behind the public image. You will hear LBJ:

  • Revealing his self-doubts and personal anguish over the responsibilities of the presidency
  • Receiving the frank criticism of his wife, Lady Bird Johnson
  • Staking his presidency on a revolutionary civil rights bill
  • Scuttling Robert Kennedy's drive to be his vice president
  • Using the Tonkin Gulf attack to expand the American beachhead in Southeast Asia
  • Unveiling his private, tortured early doubts that the US could ever win a war in Vietnam

Taking Charge gives us an unprecedented look into a crucial presidency that continues to shape our lives today. In LBJ's own words, it is history "with the bark off".

All the way with LBJ: explore our full list of titles about Lyndon Johnson and the Johnson administration, including Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-65.

©1997 Michael R. Beschloss; (P)1997 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"These secretly recorded conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and members of his family, his staff, and the troubled nation he was governing constitute one of the most exciting audio programs of the decade, invaluable to anyone who is interested in history, politics, or the workings of human nature." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Amanda Scullin, Australia 11-22-11
    Amanda Scullin, Australia 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Great as an audiobook"

    I agree with another reviewer who said this was one book that works better as an audio book than in print - for anyone interested in this period of American history, the American presidency and/or LBJ this is well worth listening to. The original tapes are fascinating and Beschloss' commentary is generally good. I highly recommend this audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine New Orleans, LA, United States 09-01-10
    Catherine New Orleans, LA, United States 09-01-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Great use of audiobook format and primary sources"

    Listening to this book is such a wonderful and unique experience I can't imagine what it is like to read it in print. Much of the power of the material would be lost. Taking Charge is made for the audiobook format. It is a great use of primary source historical materials. Beschloss sets up each snippet of LBJ's conversation and then you get to hear LBJ himself. Fascinating and fun. Great listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-01-13
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-01-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A Window to the first few years of Johnson's Presi"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Taking Charge to be better than the print version?

    I would considering I haven't read the prin version at all.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Taking Charge?

    Hearing the recordings and Michael's commentary.


    Which character – as performed by Michael R. Beschloss – was your favorite?

    He didn't preform them, but the narration was excellent.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    LBJ's rough relations with the Kennedies, Jackei in particular supprised me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Gilbert Wright GROVE CITY, PENNSYLVANIA 01-02-12
    Charles Gilbert Wright GROVE CITY, PENNSYLVANIA 01-02-12 Member Since 2011

    Charles Gilbert Wright

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    "Helps to balance out the facts"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have learned that it is best to hear both sides a story. The external media does not help all of us to understand what is going on. This puts flesh on the bones of a long ago buried corpse. I was a 20 year old and now am 63. Looking back at the world through TAKING CHARGE helps to create a context for the world at that time.


    What other book might you compare Taking Charge to and why?

    WRITE IT WHEN I'M GONE by Thomas . DeFrank [about Gerald Ford]; THE CLINTON TAPES by Taylor Branch; AT CANAAN'S EDGE, AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS 1965-68 by Taylor Branch


    Which character – as performed by Michael R. Beschloss – was your favorite?

    JBJ


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    LBJ's humanity.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    jeffm 12-12-11
    jeffm 12-12-11 Member Since 2010
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    "fascinating insights into Johnson"

    Great tape. I've been a big fan of other Johnson bios, and this set of actual recordings builds a unique portrait of the man that the printed versions cannot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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