In this thought-provoking look at George Washington as soldier and statesman, Richard Brookhiser traces the astonishing achievements of Washington's career and illuminates how his character and his values shaped the beginnings of American politics.Brookhiser recaptures the real George Washington in this against-the-grain biographical study that chronicles a remarkable quarter-century career in public life--a record of achievements that is virtually unmatched by any modern leader. Brookhiser recounts Washington's heroic deeds as general and president, his temperament and training, and reflects upon his legacy.
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.
Following Thomas Jefferson from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to his retirement in Monticello, Joseph J. Ellis unravels the contradictions of the Jeffersonian character. He gives us the slaveholding libertarian who was capable of decrying mescegenation while maintaing an intimate relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings; the enemy of government power who exercisdd it audaciously as president; the visionarty who remained curiously blind to the inconsistencies in his nature. American Sphinx is a marvel of scholarship, a delight to read, and an essential gloss on the Jeffersonian legacy.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. This is history on a grand scale--a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
A fresh look at this astute, likably quirky statesman, by the author of the Pulitzer Award-winning Founding Brothers and the National Book Award winning American Sphinx.
"The most lovable and most laughable, the warmest and possibly the wisest of the founding fathers, John Adams knew himself as few men do and preserved his knowledge in a voluminous correspondence that still vibrates. Ellis has used it with great skill and perception not only to bring us the man, warts and all, but more importantly to reveal his extraordinary insights into the problems confronting the founders that resonate today in the republic they created." --Edmund S. Morgan, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University
Rich with excerpts from her incomparable letters and alive with the ferment of a new nation, Dearest Friend is the first full biography of Abigail Adams, the unschooled minister's daughter who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America.
From the woman who has reported on every president from Kennedy to Clinton comes a privileged glimpse into the White House -- and a telling record of the ever-changing relationship between the presidency and the press.
Helen Thomas wanted to be a reporter from her earliest years. She turned a copy-aide job at the Washington Daily News into a powerful and successful career spanning thirty-seven years and eight U.S. presidents. Assigned to the White House press corps in 1961. Thomas was the first woman to close a press conference with "Thank you. Mr. President." She was also the first female president of the White House Correspondents Association and the first woman member, later president, of the Gridiron Club.
In this revealing memoir, which includes hundreds of anecdotes, observations, and personal details. Thomas looks back on a career spent with presidents at home and abroad, on the ground and in the air. Providing a unique view of the past four decades of presidential history. Front Row at the White House offers a seasoned study of the relationship between the chief executive officer and the press -- a relationship that is sometimes uneasy, sometimes playful, yet always integral to the democratic process.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Harry S. Truman, whose presidency included momentous events from the atomic bombing of Japan to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War, told by America's beloved and distinguished historian.The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters--Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson--and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man--a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined--but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman's story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman's own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary "man from Missouri" who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.
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.