In politics, the man who takes the highest spot after a landslide
is not standing on solid ground.
In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, Jonathan
Darman tells the story of two giants of American politics, Lyndon Johnson and
Ronald Reagan, and shows how, from 1963 to 1966, these two men—the same age,
and driven by the same heroic ambitions—changed American politics forever.
The liberal and the conservative. The deal-making arm
twister and the cool communicator. The Texas rancher and the Hollywood star.
Opposites in politics and style, Johnson and Reagan shared a defining impulse:
to set forth a grand story of America, a story in which he could be the hero.
In the tumultuous days after the Kennedy assassination, Johnson and Reagan
each, in turn, seized the chance to offer the country a new vision for the
future. Bringing to life their vivid personalities and the anxious mood of
America in a radically transformative time, Darman shows how, in promising the
impossible, Johnson and Reagan jointly dismantled the long American tradition
of consensus politics and ushered in a new era of fracture. History comes to
life in Darman’s vivid, fly-on-the wall storytelling.
Even as Johnson publicly revels in his triumphs, we see him
grow obsessed with dark forces he believes are out to destroy him, while his
wife, Lady Bird, urges her husband to put aside his paranoia and see the world
as it really is. And as the war in Vietnam threatens to overtake his
presidency, we witness Johnson desperately struggling to compensate with ever
more extravagant promises for his Great Society.
On the other side of the country, Ronald Reagan, a fading actor
years removed from his Hollywood glory, gradually turns toward a new career in
California politics. We watch him delivering speeches to crowds who are
desperate for a new leader. And we see him wielding his well-honed instinct for
timing, waiting for Johnson’s majestic promises to prove empty before he steps
back into the spotlight, on his long journey toward the presidency.
From Johnson’s election in 1964, the greatest popular-vote
landslide in American history, to the pivotal 1966 midterms, when Reagan burst
forth onto the national stage, Landslide brings alive a country transformed—by riots,
protests, the rise of television, the shattering of consensus—and the two
towering personalities whose choices in those moments would reverberate through
the country for decades to come. Download and start listening now!