Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism

Prisoners of Hope Lyndon B Johnson the Great Society and the Limits of Liberalism President Lyndon Johnson s Great Society was breathtaking in its scope and dramatic in its impact Over the course of his time in office Johnson passed over one thousand pieces of legislation designed

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  • Title: Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism
  • Author: Randall B. Woods
  • ISBN: 9780465050963
  • Page: 387
  • Format: Hardcover
  • President Lyndon Johnson s Great Society was breathtaking in its scope and dramatic in its impact Over the course of his time in office, Johnson passed over one thousand pieces of legislation designed to address an extraordinary array of social issues Poverty and racial injustice were foremost among them, but the Great Society included legislation on issues ranging fromPresident Lyndon Johnson s Great Society was breathtaking in its scope and dramatic in its impact Over the course of his time in office, Johnson passed over one thousand pieces of legislation designed to address an extraordinary array of social issues Poverty and racial injustice were foremost among them, but the Great Society included legislation on issues ranging from health care to immigration to education and environmental protection But while the Great Society was undeniably ambitious, it was by no means perfect In Prisoners of Hope, prize winning historian Randall B Woods presents the first comprehensive history of the Great Society, exploring both the breathtaking possibilities of visionary politics, as well as its limits.Soon after becoming president, Johnson achieved major legislative victories with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act But he wasn t prepared for the substantial backlash that ensued Community Action Programs were painted as dangerously subversive, at worst a forum for minority criminals and at best a conduit through which the federal government and the inner city poor could bypass the existing power structure Affirmative action was rife with controversy, and the War on Poverty was denounced by conservatives as the cause of civil disorder and disregard for the law As opposition, first from white conservatives, but then also some liberals and African Americans, mounted, Johnson was forced to make a number of devastating concessions in order to secure the future of the Great Society Even as many Americans benefited, millions were left disappointed, from suburban whites to the new anti war left to African Americans The Johnson administration s efforts to draw on aspects of the Great Society to build a viable society in South Vietnam ultimately failed, and as the war in Vietnam descended into quagmire, the president s credibility plummeted even further.A cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of even well intentioned policy, Prisoners of Hope offers a nuanced portrait of America s most ambitious and controversial domestic policy agenda since the New Deal.

    One thought on “Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism”

    1. The great society of LBJ is much derided (by conservatives) but hasn't gotten a decent historical treatment. As far as its objectives Medicare, Strengthening the social safety net (for a time), and moving on civil rights it was a success but Vietnam, cities in the north burning in the long hot summers of the midsixties and the white backlash brought the optimism surrounding the great society down. The momentum LBJ had after crushing goldwater was dissipated in the apocalytic atmosphere of the la [...]

    2. Does an extremely solid job of chronicling this essential period in our history. An admiring, yet insightful work.

    3. Excellent book. This was very similar to the Fierce Urgency of Now by Julian Zelizer. Both books focus on the impact of the policies of the Great Society. Zelizer's book goes into more details regarding the substance of policies like the Voting Rights Act and Medicare and Zelizer focuses on the congressional struggles more than Woods. However, Woods focuses on Johnson more and is more descriptive on the 65 Immigration Act, (which few Johnson biographies discuss in detail) and the divide within t [...]

    4. Fascinating. Insightful. Transformative- "LBJ had claimed that the Great Society was a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community.It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods."

    5. This is a fascinating account of the social transformations that Lyndon Johnson led and the way politics, human limitations and the Vietnam war got in the way. It is also a vivid reminder of just how crazy things were when I was in my teens.

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