- The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964
- Narrated by: Michael R. Beschloss
- Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 07-02-07
- Language: English
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
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".
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mr. J. Scholefield on 30-12-14
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Filip Matous on 31-12-15
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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amanda on 22-11-11
Great as an audiobook
I agree with another reviewer who said this was one book that works better as an audio book than in print - for anyone interested in this period of American history, the American presidency and/or LBJ this is well worth listening to. The original tapes are fascinating and Beschloss' commentary is generally good. I highly recommend this audiobook.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By NOLAHunter on 01-09-10
Great use of audiobook format and primary sources
Listening to this book is such a wonderful and unique experience I can't imagine what it is like to read it in print. Much of the power of the material would be lost. Taking Charge is made for the audiobook format. It is a great use of primary source historical materials. Beschloss sets up each snippet of LBJ's conversation and then you get to hear LBJ himself. Fascinating and fun. Great listening.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful