The Best Year of Their Lives by Lance Morrow
Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948: Learning the Secrets of Power

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Synopsis

In 1948, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon were all ambitious young congressmen at pivotal points in their lives. LBJ was in a desperate Senate race, running against a more popular candidate. Campaigning frantically by helicopter across Texas, LBJ won only with the help of corrupt political bosses, whose illegal ballot-stuffing put "Landslide Lyndon" into the Senate by 87 votes. At the same time, Nixon was having his first meetings with Whittaker Chambers, the witness in the Alger Hiss trial that would make Nixon a national figure and lead to his selection as Eisenhower's running mate four years later. And Kennedy was still recovering from the near-fatal attack of Addison's disease he had suffered the previous year. From that point on, he would conceal the truth about his health, just as he concealed his reckless personal life. In all three politicians, Morrow finds a streak of amorality and ruthlessness-each believed that the rules didn't apply to him. Lies of one kind or another-lies they told or exposed-would propel each of them to power; lies would also undo LBJ and Nixon's presidencies and, ultimately, tarnish JFK's reputation.Morrow also tells the story of America in 1948, when it, too, was learning the secrets of power, and coming to grips with the vast changes of the postwar world. For readers of Robert Caro and Robert Dallek, The Best Year of Their Lives offers a fresh look at a crucial turning point in the lives of three presidents, by one of America's most observant and thoughtful journalists.
 

About Lance Morrow

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Lance Morrow, twice winner of the National Magazine Award, is a longtime essayist for TIME magazine. He contributes essays and articles to other publications and is the author of eight books, including Evil: An Investigation and The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948. He lives in Chatham, New York.
 
Published March 15, 2005 by Basic Books. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson had ''personality disorders,'' Lance Morrow argues in ''The Best Year of Their Lives.'' Today, he says, ''Nixon and Johnson would be accused of clinical paranoia'' and Kennedy of such a degree of ''personal recklessness'' as to call into question his ''mo...

Apr 10 2005 | Read Full Review of The Best Year of Their Lives:...

Bookmarks Magazine

… Three future presidents, three distinct lives, very little in common."

Jan 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Best Year of Their Lives:...

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