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Download Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson’s Secret White House Tapes, 1964–1965 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson’s Secret White House Tapes, 1964–1965 Audiobook, by Michael R. Beschloss Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (54 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael R. Beschloss, Michael R. Beschloss Narrator: Michael R. Beschloss, Judith Ivey Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2001 ISBN: 9780743563666
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Transcribing, editing, and explaining the most powerful moments from hundreds of hours of newly released LBJ tapes, Michael Beschloss has added another lasting treasure to the American historical record. Reaching for Glory exposes the inner workings of the Johnson presidency from the summer of 1964 through the summer of 1965.

From behind the scenes, you will hear Johnson pulling the strings of his presidential campaign against Barry Goldwater and pursuing his feud with the new senator Robert Kennedy. He agonizes over Martin Luther King, Jr., and the bloody march on Selma, Alabama, and twists arms on Capitol Hill to pass voting rights, Medicare, and more basic laws than any American president before or since. Above all, you will hear him sending young Americans off to Vietnam while privately insisting that the war can never be won.

Winding Johnson’s voice and exclusive excerpts from Lady Bird Johnson’s private diaries into a gripping narrative, Michael Beschloss provides context and historical insights, showing how profoundly LBJ changed the presidency and the country. Reaching for Glory allows us to live at Lyndon Johnson’s side, day by day, through the dramatic, triumphant, and catastrophic year of a turbulent presidency that continues to affect us all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Reaching for Glory provides an incomparable portrait of a president at work, and the workings of a president’s mind.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Johnson’s genuine passion for creating a more equitable, racially open society shines through in these pages, but so do his willful pragmatism, his obsession with enemies, his penchant for self-pity, rationalization and exaggeration…The volume takes on a terrible momentum. Given the events that occurred in Southeast Asia, we read of Johnson’s decisions with a mixture of fascination and horror conferred by our retrospective knowledge.”

    New York Times

  • “Beschloss is a knowledgeable, assured, and dispassionate collector…With an apparently limitless self-regard, LBJ taped himself practicing the most unscrupulous forms of American national politics, which in that era could sink very low indeed. The depictions of Vietnam are torturous. They show an administration getting into hotter and hotter water, anguishing but adapting to the changing temperature degree by degree, slowly boiling itself alive.”

    Foreign Affairs

  • “This book must be heard. Lyndon Johnson’s words on the page are common; his voice is a revelation. The man could bully and wheedle, but he could also feel and bleed. This true-life audio drama shattered my image of the terrible oaf who backed us into Vietnam. What was most terrible about this man was his vulnerability. When he calls Jacqueline Kennedy ‘darling,’ it’s right after the assassination, and you can hear the ache in his voice.”


  • “Beschloss splendidly edits and annotates Johnson’s secret telephone recordings…Beschloss provides an engrossing personal portrayal of Johnson that breathes life.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele | 9/28/2013

    " Some very telling recordings in here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 5/18/2013

    " fascinating perspective of LBJ's years as president directly from his tapes "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frederick Bingham | 9/28/2011

    " This book contains transcripts of tapes recorded by Lyndon Johnson during the years 1964-1965. The subject matter is interesting enough, but presented with far more detail than I wanted to plow through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 11/24/2010

    " fascinating perspective of LBJ's years as president directly from his tapes "

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About the Author

Michael R. Beschloss has been called “the nation’s leading presidential historian” by Newsweek.  He has written numerous books on American presidents and is a contributor to PBS’s The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. He received an Emmy Award in 2005 for his work on the Discovery Channel’s Decisions That Shook the World. As a public speaker, Beschloss has made appearances at a number of colleges, universities, and presidential libraries. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and two sons.  

About the Narrator

Judith Ivey was born in 1951 in El Paso, Texas. She was not quite yet a Tony Award–winner, but already a prolific Broadway and stage actress when she made her film debut appearance as Steve Martin’s love interest in Arthur Hiller’s The Lonely Guy. She then went on to star as Jennifer Jason Leigh’s older sister in the southern gothic thriller Sister, Sister. She came to star (despite her impressive resume) as what would be her better remembered role, Texan B. J. Poteet in the last season of Designing Women. Other notable characters she has played in film include Keanu Reeves’ mother in Devil’s Advocate, one of three intrepid psychics investigating a haunted house in Stephen King’s three-part miniseries Rose Red, and the recurring role of Debra Messing’s mother-in-law Eleanor Markus on Will & Grace.