Taking Charge

  • by Michael R. Beschloss
  • Narrated by Michael R. Beschloss
  • 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Taking Charge brings you into the room with an American political legend, still hated and revered a quarter century after his death. We hear Lyndon Johnson as he schemes and blusters, rewards and punishes, and reveals a bedrock core of unshakable political beliefs. The only president to record his private conversations from his first day in office, LBJ ordered these tapes locked in a vault until at least the year 2023. But now they have been unsealed, providing a close-up look at a president taking unprecedented power, from John F. Kennedy's murder in November 1963 to Johnson's campaign for a landslide victory.
Taking Charge is filled with revelations about the full-blooded Texan behind the public image. You will hear LBJ:

Revealing his self-doubts and personal anguish over the responsibilities of the presidency

Receiving the frank criticism of his wife, Lady Bird Johnson

Staking his presidency on a revolutionary civil rights bill

Scuttling Robert Kennedy's drive to be his vice president

Using the Tonkin Gulf attack to expand the American beachhead in Southeast Asia

Unveiling his private, tortured early doubts that the US could ever win a war in Vietnam
Taking Charge gives us an unprecedented look into a crucial presidency that continues to shape our lives today. In LBJ's own words, it is history "with the bark off".


What the Critics Say

"These secretly recorded conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and members of his family, his staff, and the troubled nation he was governing constitute one of the most exciting audio programs of the decade, invaluable to anyone who is interested in history, politics, or the workings of human nature." ( Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Listening-in to history being made

This is an amazing experience, listening to conversations, as they happened, between giants of history like LBJ, Martin Luther King, Eisenhower, Jacqueline & Bobby Kennedy. This contrasts with informally and chatty nature of what is said, most of the time.

This is where an audiobook comes into its own and makes it compulsive in a way not possible in the usual book format.

Nearly the entire book consists of actual recordings from LBJ's tapes. Beschloss does an excellent job though, as a narrator, linking the recordings together to make a coherent whole.

What makes this book all the more riveting is the range of topics covered. LBJ throws himself into everything from the civil rights struggle to Vietnam and even advises his wife and daughters about getting getting their hair done and putting lipstick on before having a walk on the White House lawn.

It was a revelation to me that LBJ appeared to seriously consider not standing for the presidency in 1964, due to the civil rights issue.

It comes through strongly how good LBJ was at managing people. He shows a deft touch in his conversations with Bobby Kennedy, not as brash as he's made out to be by some.

Altogether fascinating history as though it's happening now in all its freshness.

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- Mr. J. Scholefield

Insight into presidential communications

Would you consider the audio edition of Taking Charge to be better than the print version?

The audio version is a must as you get an added insight into tone and emotion that you can't get with print.

Only problem is it is rather hard to understand the beginning due to quality of the recordings themselves.

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- Filip Matous

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-02-2007
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio