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:
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.
"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)
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.
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.
With a voice like velvet, Michael Beschloss leads you on a path through history. Although this taping system caused some problems in later years,these recordings allow you to be there as history happens! Beschloss, a pre-eminent Presidential Historian, provides background and insight while President Johnson (and sometimes Lady Bird) stick to the business of keeping a wounded and grieving nation on course.
I would considering I haven't read the prin version at all.
Hearing the recordings and Michael's commentary.
He didn't preform them, but the narration was excellent.
LBJ's rough relations with the Kennedies, Jackei in particular supprised me.
Charles Gilbert Wright
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.
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
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.
"Listening-in to history being made"
This is an amazing experience, listening to conversations, as they happened, between giants of history like LBJ, Martin Luther King, Eisenhower, Jacqueline & Bobby Kennedy. This contrasts with informally and chatty nature of what is said, most of the time.
This is where an audiobook comes into its own and makes it compulsive in a way not possible in the usual book format.
Nearly the entire book consists of actual recordings from LBJ's tapes. Beschloss does an excellent job though, as a narrator, linking the recordings together to make a coherent whole.
What makes this book all the more riveting is the range of topics covered. LBJ throws himself into everything from the civil rights struggle to Vietnam and even advises his wife and daughters about getting getting their hair done and putting lipstick on before having a walk on the White House lawn.
It was a revelation to me that LBJ appeared to seriously consider not standing for the presidency in 1964, due to the civil rights issue.
It comes through strongly how good LBJ was at managing people. He shows a deft touch in his conversations with Bobby Kennedy, not as brash as he's made out to be by some.
Altogether fascinating history as though it's happening now in all its freshness.
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