Prisoners of Hope

Prisoners of Hope

Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism

Book - 2016
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"An eminent historian charts the origins and impact of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society "-- Provided by publisher.
"In Prisoners of Hope, prize-winning historian Randall Woods presents the first comprehensive history of the Great Society, exploring both the breathtaking possibilities of politics, as well as the limits of liberalism. During his first two years in office, Johnson passed a host of historic liberal legislation as part of his Great Society campaign, from the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act to the 1964 Food Stamp Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. But Johnson's ambitious vision for constructing a better, stronger America contained within it the seeds of the program's own destruction. A consummate legislator, Johnson controlled Congress like no president before or since. But as Woods shows, Johnson faced mounting resistance to his legislative initiatives after the 1966 midterm elections, and not always from the Southern whites who are typically thought to have been his opponents. As white opposition to his policies mounted, Johnson was forced to make a number of devastating concessions in order to secure the passage of further Great Society legislation. Even as Americans benefited from the Great Society, millions were left disappointed, from suburban whites to the new anti-war left to urban blacks. Their disillusionment would help give rise to powerful new factions in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The issues addressed by Lyndon Johnson and his cohort remain before the American people today, as we've witnessed in the fight for Obamacare, the racial unrest in St. Louis and Baltimore, and the bitter debate over immigration. As Prisoners of Hope tragically demonstrates, America is still fundamentally at war over the legacy of the Great Society"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, [2016].
ISBN: 9780465050963
Branch Call Number: 973.923 WOO
Characteristics: viii, 461 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Apr 09, 2016

Haven't read this book yet and look forward to reading it, but am somewhat skeptical from the description. Often, certain items and actions of the LBJ administration are conveniently overlooked: the attack on the USS Liberty, and the cover-up afterwards; the massive buildup in Vietnam, when before the death of President Kennedy, JFK had sent out memos to State Department offices the world over - - through military comm links - - detailing that the withdrawal of all US military advisors from Vietnam would commence at the end of November, 1963; LBJ signed an amendment to the Bank Act which allowed for ownership of foreign banks by major US banks; ended the speculation tax, in effect since 1914; used the FBI against anti-war protesters, et cetera, et cetera. [And all that great legislation he managed to pass: most of it originated in the Kennedy administration - - and LBJ gave JFK's secretary about one hour to pack up and leave her office, giving the former First Lady, now First Widow, Jacquelyn Kennedy, just a bit more time to vacate the White House!]


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