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Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America
Jonathan Darman


9781400067084
Retail Price: $30.00
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Format: Hardcover, 480pp.
ISBN: 9781400067084
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

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.



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Reviews

“Jonathan Darman turns fresh eyes on two political giants of the late twentieth century, LBJ and Ronald Reagan. Landslide is full of surprises and new insights on these two presidents, and is written with flair. A delicious feast of a read.”
—Lesley Stahl


“Masterly . . . In taking us back to a moment in American history when politics worked, Jonathan Darman provides a resonant reality check on a system that now seems all too dysfunctional. The intertwined stories of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan offer us a window on the intrinsic give-and-take that makes governing possible. Anyone who cares about politics, biography, and current affairs will find this a delightful and illuminating book.”
—Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power


“Jonathan Darman writes with power, sweep, vivacity, and humor. He is at once a gifted storyteller, a keen judge of character, and a genie of political insight. He gives us two giants, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, in all their glory and human vanity, and takes us on a breathtaking thousand-day ride.”
—Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff and The Wise Men


 
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About the Author

Jonathan Darman is a writer in New York City. He is a former correspondent for Newsweek, where he covered national politics, including John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 and Hillary Clinton’s in 2008. This is his first book.



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