In Means of Ascent, Book Two of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro brings alive Lyndon Johnson in his wilderness years.Here, Johnson's almost mythic personality--part genius, part behemoth, at once hotly emotional and icily calculating--is seen at its most nakedly ambitious. This multifaceted book carries the President-to-be from the aftermath of his devastating defeat in his 1941 campaign for the Senate-the despair it engendered in him, and the grueling test of his spirit that followed as political doors slammed shut-through his service in World War II (and his artful embellishment of his record) to the foundation of his fortune (and the actual facts behind the myth he created about it). The culminating drama--the explosive heart of the book--is Caro's illumination, based on extraordinarily detailed investigation, of one of the great political mysteries of the century. Having immersed himself in Johnson's life and world, Caro is able to reveal the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election, for years shrouded in rumor, which Johnson was not believed capable of winning, which he "had to" win or face certain political death, and which he did win-by 87 votes, the "87 votes that changed history." Telling that epic story "in riveting and eye-opening detail," Caro returns to the American consciousness a magnificent lost hero. He focuses closely not only on Johnson, whom we see harnessing every last particle of his strategic brilliance and energy, but on Johnson's "unbeatable" opponent, the beloved former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson, who embodied in his own life the myth of the cowboy knight and was himself a legend for his unfaltering integrity. And ultimately, as the political duel between the two men quickens--carrying with it all the confrontational and moral drama of the perfect Western--Caro makes us witness to a momentous turning point in American politics: the tragic last stand of the old politics versus the new--the politics of issue versus the politics of image, mass manipulation, money and electronic dazzle.
In the saga of early western exploration a young Shoshoni Indian girl named Sacajawea is famed as a guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Far Northwest between 1804 and 1806. Her fame rests upon her contributions to the expedition. In guiding them through the wilderness, in gathering wild foods, and, above all, in serving as an ambassadress to Indian tribes along the way she helped to assure the success of the expedition.
This book retraces Sacajawea's path across the Northwest, from the Mandan Indian villages in present-day South Dakota to the Pacific Ocean, and back. On the journey Sacajawea was accompanied by her ne'er-do-well French-Canadian husband, Toussaint Charboneau, and her infant son, Baptiste, who became a favorite of the members of the expedition, especially Captain William Clark.
The author presents a colorful account of Sacajawea's journeys with Lewis and Clark and an objective evaluation of the controversial accounts of her later years.
Twenty years after Appomattox, stricken by cancer and facing financial ruin, Ulysses S. Grant wrote his Personal Memoirs to secure his family's future. in doing so, the Civil War's greatest general won himself a unique place in American letters. His character, intelligence, sense of purpose, and simple compassion are evident throughout this vivid and deeply moving account, which has been acclaimed by readers as diverse asMark Twain, Matthew Arnold, Gertrude Stein, and Edmund Wilson. Annotated and complete with detailed maps, battle plans, and facsimiles reproduced from the original edition, this volume offers an unparalleled vantage on the most terrible, moving, and inexhaustibly fascinating event in American history. included are 174 letters, many of them to his wife, Julia, which offer an intimate view of their affectionate and enduring marriage.LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush.Readers of McPhee's earlier books will not be unprepared for his surprising shifts of scene and ordering of events, brilliantly combined into an organic whole. In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer mining, the habits and legends of the barren-ground grizzly, the outlook of a young Athapaskan chief, and tales of the fortitude of settlers--ordinary people compelled by extraordinary dreams. Coming into the Country unites a vast region of America with one of America's notable literary craftsmen, singularly qualified to do justice to the scale and grandeur of the design.
The spell that the West has always exercised on the American people had its most intense impact on American literature and thought during the nineteenth century. Henry Nash Smith shows, with vast comprehension, the influence of the nineteenth-century West in all its variety and strength, in special relation to social, economic, cultural, and political forces. He traces the myths and symbols of the Westward movement such as the general notion of a Westward-moving Course of Empire, the Wild Western hero, the virtuous yeoman-farmer--in such varied nineteenth-century writings as Leaves of Grass, the great corpus of Dime Novels, and most notably, Frederick Jackson Turner's The Frontier in American History. Moreover, he synthesizes the imaginative expression of Western myths and symbols in literature with their role in contemporary politics, economics, and society, embodied in such forms as the idea of Manifest Destiny, the conflict in the American mind between idealizations of primitivism on the one hand and of progress and civilization on the other, the Homestead Act of 1862, and public-land policy after the Civil War.
The myths of the American West that found their expression in nineteenth-century words and deeds remain a part of every American's heritage, and Smith, with his insight into their power and significance, makes possible a critical appreciation of that heritage.
The Years of Lyndon Johnson is the political biography of our time. No president--no era of American politics--has been so intensively and sharply examined at a time when so many prime witnesses to hitherto untold or misinterpreted facets of a life, a career, and a period of history could still be persuaded to speak.The Path to Power, Book One, reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and urge to power that set LBJ apart. Chronicling the startling early emergence of Johnson's political genius, it follows him from his Texas boyhood through the years of the Depression in the Texas hill Country to the triumph of his congressional debut in New Deal Washington, to his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, of the national power for which he hungered. We see in him, from earliest childhood, a fierce, unquenchable necessity to be first, to win, to dominate--coupled with a limitless capacity for hard, unceasing labor in the service of his own ambition. Caro shows us the big, gangling, awkward young Lyndon--raised in one of the country's most desperately poor and isolated areas, his education mediocre at best, his pride stung by his father's slide into failure and financial ruin--lunging for success, moving inexorably toward that ultimate "impossible" goal that he sets for himself years before any friend or enemy suspects what it may be. We watch him, while still at college, instinctively (and ruthlessly) creating the beginnings of the political machine that was to serve him for three decades. We see him employing his extraordinary ability to mesmerize and manipulate powerful older men, to mesmerize (and sometimes almost enslave) useful subordinates. We see him carrying out, before his thirtieth year, his first great political inspiration: tapping-and becoming the political conduit for-the money and influence of the new oil men and contractors who were to grow with him to immense power. We follow, close up, the radical fluctuations of his relationships with the formidable "Mr. Sam" Raybum (who loved him like a son and whom he betrayed) and with FDR himself. And we follow the dramas of his emotional life-the intensities and complications of his relationships with his family, his contemporaries, his girls; his wooing and winning of the shy Lady Bird; his secret love affair, over many years, with the mistress of one of his most ardent and generous supporters . . . Johnson driving his people to the point of exhausted tears, equally merciless with himself . . . Johnson bullying, cajoling, lying, yet inspiring an amazing loyalty . . . Johnson maneuvering to dethrone the unassailable old Jack Garner (then Vice President of the United States) as the New Deal's "connection" in Texas, and seize the power himself . . . Johnson raging . . . Johnson hugging . . . Johnson bringing light and, indeed, life to the worn Hill Country farmers and their old-at-thirty wives via the district's first electric lines. We see him at once unscrupulous, admirable, treacherous, devoted. And we see the country that bred him: the harshness and "nauseating loneliness" of the rural life; the tragic panorama of the Depression; the sudden glow of hope at the dawn of the Age of Roosevelt. And always, in the foreground, on the move, LBJ. Here is Lyndon Johnson--his Texas, his Washington, his America--in a book that brings us as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.
Shortly after he left office, President Harry S. Truman began to write down his typically blunt, honest commentaries about FDR and his other colleagues, the job of the presidency, the workings of the government and the Constitution -- and his picks for the nation's best and worst presidents. Since he minced no words, Truman asked that these writings -- sometimes funny, sometimes very serious, always to the point -- be released to the public only after he and Mrs. Truman were gone.
Now, this totally frank book by the thirty-third president, lovingly edited by his daughter, Margaret, has been published at last. In it, Truman speaks clearly in his own inimitable voice, and with the down-home, across-the-back-fence feeling of a born storyteller from Missouri, he tells you exactly what's on his mind about these and other subjects:
The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.
This account of Congress's Indian Removal Act of 1830 focuses on the plight of the Indians of the Southeast--Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles--who were forced to leave their ancestral lands and relocate to what is now the state of Oklahoma. Revealing Andrew Jackson's central role in the government's policies, Wallace examines the racist attitudes toward Native Americans that led to their removal and, ultimately, their tragic fate.
In 1823 Texas was opened to American settlement; over the next 12 years thousands took advantage of the opportunity. During this time the corrupt Santa Anna rose to power. A dishonest and ruthless politician, thief, compulsive gambler, opium addict and liar, he nevetheless gained a measure of popular support and set about destroying federalism. Conflict with the American settlers ('Texians') became inevitable, a conflict which included the legendary Battle of the Alamo. Philip Haythornwaite covers the story of the War of Texan Independence (1835-1936) in a volume backed by a wealth of illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Paul Hannon