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The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for…

por Julian E. Zelizer

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"Zelizer takes the full measure of the entire story [of Johnson's liberal agenda] in all its epic sweep. Before Johnson, Kennedy tried and failed to achieve many of these advances. Our practiced understanding is that this was an unprecedented liberal hour in America, a moment, after Kennedy's death, when the seas parted and Johnson could simply stroll through to victory. As Zelizer shows, this view is off-base: in many respects America was even more conservative than it seems now, and Johnson's legislative program faced bitter resistance" --Amazon.com.… (mais)
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As I was reading The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society, I had a vision of a thick steel bank vault door coming open. This door is the short period of time in which the second New Deal were passed under President Lyndon Johnson. After Kennedy was assassinated, President Johnson started to map out the legislative changes that he wanted to see. Lyndon Johnson was a New Deal Democrat. He appreciated FDR’s programs and he was greatly influenced by his father standing up to the Klu Klux Klan and his own experiences teaching the children of Mexican Americans and by seeing their parents dig through garbage trying to find something to eat. He was determined to get President Kennedy’s programs passed and to add his own programs that focused on poverty.

Julian E. Zelizer does not only tells us the stories that make this era come to life but he examines the situation and finds that it is not just the man that made it happen but a myriad of circumstances. The grassroot activists who were able to change the power setup of Congress, the events inside the country and the interactions of the power brokers. Amazingly, these changes although difficult to make initially did not get reversed. Mr. Zelizer’s in depth research shows up in the stories that are well documented in the back of the book under Notes. This is a book to learn from. It is not that Johnson was a big wheeler dealer but so many other factors were in the mix. There had to be a way to get around the filibuster and to crack the tight bond of the resistors of change.

When Lyndon Johnson was ready to graduate from high school, his parents were suddenly plunged into poverty. It took a series of manual labor jobs to teach him that he needed get more education than continue the hard physical labor. This lesson later came out in his desire for children to have better education than they were getting then. The author exposes the bad characteristics of Lyndon Johnson too. But is this not a book about Lyndon Johnson, this book is about everything coming together so that legislative changes could happen. President Johnson recognized the opportunity and took the challenge. There was also a place in this book where he seemed realize that this door of opportunity was closing. This book is an analysis of the period in which these changes happened and the author makes you aware why they could happen.

The opportunity arose from so many factors an upset to the power set up in congress, the grassroots activists, rise of new groups and a huge change in politics. If future change is to happen, another “change in the political landscape” must occur.

I selected this book from Amazon Vine but receiving it free did not influence my review in any way. ( )
  Carolee888 | Mar 24, 2015 |
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"Zelizer takes the full measure of the entire story [of Johnson's liberal agenda] in all its epic sweep. Before Johnson, Kennedy tried and failed to achieve many of these advances. Our practiced understanding is that this was an unprecedented liberal hour in America, a moment, after Kennedy's death, when the seas parted and Johnson could simply stroll through to victory. As Zelizer shows, this view is off-base: in many respects America was even more conservative than it seems now, and Johnson's legislative program faced bitter resistance" --Amazon.com.

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