Building the Great Society by Joshua Zeitz
Inside Lyndon Johnson's White House

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Refreshingly, the only real change today is that women have come to occupy increasingly influential roles in the administrations that followed. An enlightening look at the political foundations of 20th-century hope.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The author of Lincoln's Boys takes us inside Lyndon Johnson's White House to show how the legendary Great Society programs were actually put into practice: Team of Rivals for LBJ. The personalities behind every burst of 1960s liberal reform - from civil rights and immigration reform, to Medicare and Head Start.

"Absorbing, and astoundingly well-researched -- all good historians do their homework, but Zeitz goes above and beyond. It's a more than worthwhile addition to the canon of books about Johnson."--NPR.org

"Beautifully written...a riveting portrait of LBJ... Every officeholder in Washington would profit from reading this book." --Robert Dallek, Author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 and Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life

LBJ's towering political skills and his ambitious slate of liberal legislation are the stuff of legend: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and environmental reform. But what happened after the bills passed? One man could not and did not go it alone. Joshua Zeitz reanimates the creative and contentious atmosphere inside Johnson's White House as a talented and energetic group of advisers made LBJ's vision a reality. They desegregated public and private institutions throughout one third of the United States; built Medicare and Medicaid from the ground up in one year; launched federal funding for public education; provided food support for millions of poor children and adults; and launched public television and radio, all in the space of five years, even as Vietnam strained the administration's credibility and budget.

Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti, Joe Califano, Harry McPherson and the other staff members who comprised LBJ's inner circle were men as pragmatic and ambitious as Johnson, equally skilled in the art of accumulating power or throwing a sharp elbow. Building the Great Society is the story of how one of the most competent White House staffs in American history - serving one of the most complicated presidents ever to occupy the Oval Office - fundamentally changed everyday life for millions of citizens and forged a legacy of compassionate and interventionist government.
 

About Joshua Zeitz

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Josh Zeitz has taught American history and politics at Cambridge University, Harvard University, and Princeton University.  He is the author of several books on American political and social history and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, The Atlantic,  Dissent, American Heritage.  He lives with his wife and daughter in Hoboken, NJ."
 
Published January 30, 2018 by Viking. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Good
on Oct 31 2017

Refreshingly, the only real change today is that women have come to occupy increasingly influential roles in the administrations that followed. An enlightening look at the political foundations of 20th-century hope.

Read Full Review of Building the Great Society: I... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jan 31 2018

Building the Great Society is endlessly absorbing, and astoundingly well-researched — all good historians do their homework, but Zeitz goes above and beyond.

Read Full Review of Building the Great Society: I... | See more reviews from NPR

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