Reaching for Glory: Lyndon John's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965

Reaching for Glory: Lyndon John's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965, edited with commentary by Michael Beschloss, 2001, reviewed by .

The tape recorded diary of Lady Bird Johnson offered insight, another perspective about some of the events occurring in the Johnson White House. The epilogue provided a better understanding about her concern for LBJ's health issues. There are 4 major human dramas unfolding in this book which Johnson must struggle with or balance on a daily basis:

1. Johnson uses information provided by J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. to discredit certain political adversaries. Dr. King was being monitored by the F.B.I. as a potential danger to the republic. Is it still the same situation today?

2. President Johnson deals with the civil rights leader, Dr. King. Johnson is worried King will pressure him to act faster than he would like to ensure black voting rights. His preference would be to allow time to pass after the Civil Rights Act so Americans will better understand the impact of desegregating public facilities. Nor does he want to endanger or compromise his Great Society programs with immediate action on black voting rights. He is challenged internally by governor George Wallace not providing protection for the black demonstrators in Alabama.

3. The Vietnam war escalates with Operation Rolling Thunder. Johnson minutely supervised the attacks. They can't hit an outhouse without my permission, stated Johnson. He also has to watch blaming the previous Kennedy administration for the current situation and ends up supporting previous presidential administrations actions as it related to Vietnam war.

4. Various political scandals occur. The main one concerns Walter Jenkins, LBJ's closest advisor, arrested less than a month before the 1964 election for sexual relations with another man in a Washington YMCA. LBJ believed Jenkins was framed by Republicans.

Like the first book in this series of three, I would recommend the book.