Godfrey Hodgson's JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents PDF

By Godfrey Hodgson

ISBN-10: 0300180500

ISBN-13: 9780300180503

As a tender White residence correspondent in the course of the Kennedy and Johnson years in Washington, D.C., Godfrey Hodgson had a ringside seat overlaying the final nice presidents of the us, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, males who couldn't were extra assorted. Kennedy’s wit and rushing variety, his renown as a countrywide battle hero, and his Ivy League Boston Brahmin history stood in sharp distinction to Lyndon Johnson’s rural, humble origins in Texas, his blunt, forceful (but potent) political sort, his lackluster profession within the military, and his grassroots populist instincts. Hodgson, a sharp-eyed witness in the course of the tenure of those nice males, now deals us a brand new standpoint enriched through his reflections on account that that point a half-century in the past. He deals us a clean, dispassionate distinction of those nice males through stripping away the myths to evaluate their achievements, finally asking no matter if Johnson has been misjudged. He means that LBJ accept his due by way of historical past, arguing that he used to be as nice a president as, even perhaps more than, JFK.
The seed that grew into this ebook was once the author’s early notion that JFK’s functionality in workplace was once mostly puffed up whereas LBJ’s used to be continually underrated. Hodgson asks key questions: If Kennedy had lived, might he have matched Johnson’s bold nice Society achievements? could he have kept away from Johnson’s disastrous dedication in Vietnam? may Nixon were elected his successor, and if now not, how may American politics and events glance this present day? Hodgson combines vigorous anecdotes with sober analyses to reach at new conclusions concerning the U.S. presidency and of the main charismatic figures ever to control from the Oval Office.

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The widely perceived failure of the Kennedy/Johnson reforms brought the end of automatic belief in the efficacy of government and encouraged a new confidence in the superior effectiveness of the private over the public sector. These changes, and the riots, violence, and assassinations of the period, saw the end of a certain civility in American politics. They certainly fractured the unity Kennedy had celebrated in 1961 and Johnson in his turn had labored in vain to maintain. For better and for worse, American political civilization in the twenty-first century was engendered in the seventh decade of the twentieth.

49 The Johnsons themselves assumed that such suspicions would circulate. Even the most serious and best-disposed worried that Johnson would not be up to the job, that he lacked Kennedy’s style, his intellectual ability, his sophistication. The columnist Stewart Alsop, who was friendly with Johnson but a friend of Kennedy, wrote that “there was a feeling that LBJ was the usurper, that he was a Macbeth,”50 and indeed later a crude satire based on the “Scottish play,” MacBird, made a small fortune for its author, a University of California graduate student called Barbara Gershon.

His treasury secretary was Lieutenant Commander Douglas Dillon, USN, born in the same year as Rusk, one the son of a Georgia minister, the other the son of the founder of an investment bank. At the head of the Pentagon he placed Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. S. Army Air Force, born in 1916, who had introduced to the army the statistical techniques he had taught at Harvard before he became an executive at Ford. The shattered face of his secretary of agriculture, Orville Freeman, former governor of Minnesota, was the badge of Freeman’s combat service as a Marine in Pacific combat.

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JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents by Godfrey Hodgson

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