Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume The Making of the President Frank Freidel. Harvard University. Oxford Academic.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In this second volume of his groundbreaking series, White offers an intimate chronicle of the campaign for the White H Theodore H.
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Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. The Making of the President 2. Barry Goldwater , Lyndon B. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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The Making of the President - Theodore H. White - Google книги
More filters. Sort order. Shelves: history. In thinking about this book preparatory to reviewing it, I decided I should raise my rating from two stars to three. Even though I disagreed profoundly with many of White's views, I still found the book vastly interesting and informative, and it was the single influence that created my lifelong interest in politics.
Two stars is too miserly a rating to reflect that --especially considering that I went on to read the and sequels which have much in common with this one!
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My relationship In thinking about this book preparatory to reviewing it, I decided I should raise my rating from two stars to three. My relationship with the book is an ambivalent one, though. That's one factor that makes this review challenging to write though I've long wanted to write it.
Another complicating factor is that the lens I view the book through now differs from my lens as a year-old kid in , both because of my history and the country's history in the nearly 50 years since, and of knowledge I have now that I didn't then. I'll attempt the review and see how well I succeed. In , I was a year-old child. To the extent that I identified myself politically back then, it was as "liberal" rather than "conservative" on the strength of a poorly understood article in Saturday Evening Post I'd read a few years previously, and because of the way they framed the discussion ; but while I was much more aware of the election that year than I'd been of the one in , I didn't have a real preference between the candidates and didn't see the outcome as important to me one way or the other.
My mother was largely apolitical and didn't vote; and while the membership of our church --which I didn't attend very often-- and my parochial school teachers were rabidly pro-Goldwater, I wasn't impressed by their arguments. Nor was I particularly impressed by the Democrats. By the time I'd grown two years older, though, I had a dawning social and political consciousness, and a growing realization that society was something significant that I was part of, and needed to understand and have serious opinions about, because it had an impact on my life and everyone else's.
The paperback edition of this book fell into my hands around that time I forget how and was inevitably read, like any other book I got hold of back then. It fell like seed on newly plowed ground; but the effect wasn't what White intended. A deep-dyed liberal Democrat himself, he envisioned his Making of the President series starting with the epochal account, which ironically I've never read as triumphalist history, the account of America's quadrennial progress towards Utopia under the wise guidance of the Party, which was self-evidently on the side of Progress and Enlightenment and destined for inevitable triumph by the ratchet of History, which had now forever left bad old conservativism in the dusty past.
This was quite a general attitude of the American Left in those days; I remember reading a newspaper op-ed around the same time that stated, as a fact that everybody knew, that the GOP could never again barring an unlikely depression or war caused by Democratic bungling win a presidential election. The outcome of the and elections were obviously a great blow to these people, as it clearly was to White. By the time I'd finished the book, however, I had firmly self-identified as conservative. This was partly a reaction to White's smug, patronizing, condescending, self-righteous tone in discussing anybody with a different vision than his, but also a visceral reaction to the way he delineated the two basic opposing camps; I recognized his brand of liberalism as essentially a glorification of a Leviathan state raised to absolute power, which I frankly found as chilling and menacing as he found it lip-smackingly bracing.
This was before the days of Star Trek: The Next Generation , but his social vision would have suggested the Borg to me if I'd heard of them "You will be assimilated; resistance is futile I didn't uniformly identify with everything Goldwater stood for, either; but I was inclined to make common cause with anybody else who didn't want to be assimilated, and who was prepared to resist. As factual history, the book has strengths and weaknesses. White was a journalist mainly for Time magazine during his early career, though he was an independent journalist when he wrote his books who aspired to be a historian, and was knowledgeable about history.
His is a journalistic history, eschewing footnotes or bibliography; he personally covered much of the narrative he records, so that a lot of it could be described as a primary source. It has a lot of detail, but falls short of being a complete picture, because of the limited one-person perspective; it also doesn't have the benefit of much reflection over time.
There is some deliberate whitewashing; Lyndon Johnson's singularly unlovely personality, for example, is sanitized as much as possible. As we now know, White, like the entire rest of the Washington press corps, was well aware of Johnson's incessant infidelities to his wife, but on Johnson's instructions swept these under the rug. Eek, these people are paying attention to the delegate selection procedures, and choosing to take a purposive part in that process!
Where he makes policy pronouncements, they're very often off-beam; and even when they're not, they're sometimes poorly argued. On the positive side, though, he does clearly try here to be fair in his coverage of persons and events; the book isn't a deliberate attempt at partisan distortion and disinformation which a lot of more contemporary journalism is. He refused to demonize Goldwater, and he does attempt to seriously grapple with some of what he saw as the deeper underlying issues facing the country, in a way that transcends strictly partisan line-drawing and sound bites particularly at the end of the book, in his essentially "where do we go from here?
Of course, all of this is filtered through the lens of his own presuppositions, and isn't usually especially prescient except for his recognition of technological unemployment as a coming problem ; but even when you disagree with him, he can be intellectually stimulating for your own thoughts. His assessment of the political strategic and tactical factors behind Johnson's victory and Goldwater's defeat are also, IMO, pretty sound for the most part.