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Also, you can hear more of President Johnson's phone calls with presidential historian Michael Beschloss' Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-65.
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Good idea, but this title is only 50 minutes long and includes a lot of narration by the publisher. How about actually letting us listen to "The President Calling" instead of someone else talking about the Presidential conversations? I didn't find it worth the money.
When I downloaded this title, I was hoping for a story rich with audio clips from presidents that offered new insights into their lives. Unfortunately, what I got instead was a slanted commentary on three controversial presidents (Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon), long on commentary from the "host" and short on actual presidential telephone recordings.
The book starts with an account of Kennedy and clips of him dealing with the governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett, trying to persuade him to end segregation at the University of Mississippi. I was encouraged that the book was going to be interesting at this point.
However, it next moved into an account of LBJ, painting him as a misunderstood president, who "lost control" of the Vietnam War. This made absolutely no sense to me, since he was the Commander-in-Chief and exercised more control over that war than he should have (remember the Tuesday lunches?), and this control directly contributed to American loss of life (over 60% of the 58,000+ casualties from the 15-year conflict occurred during his 5 years in office). But he gets a pass. On the other hand, the characterization of Nixon was predictably one-sided, depicting him as a racist, hypocritical drunk in addition to tired portrayal of him as a man "at war with himself"...
To sum up, this book is not a story about the phone calls of the presidents. It is a politically motivated propaganda audio-leaflet sparsely illustrated by short, carefully chosen excerpts that support the author's goal of absolving LBJ of his incredibly bad leadership, while relentlessly attacking Nixon...again.
Fascinating to hear Kennedy and a two faced Mississippi governor talking about implementing a court order regarding segregation and how Kennedy worked him into a corner. Johnson gives a great life lesson on how to influence people. Nixon says unbelievable things, how did he forget it was all being recorded?
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