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Building the Great Society

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Building the Great Society by Joshua Zeitz
Jan 29, 2019 | ISBN 9780143111436
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  • Paperback $18.00

    Jan 29, 2019 | ISBN 9780143111436

  • Ebook $13.99

    Jan 30, 2018 | ISBN 9780698191594

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Praise for Building the Great Society

“Building the Great Society
is endlessly absorbing, and astoundingly well-researched — all good historians do their homework, but Zeitz goes above and beyond. It’s a more than worthwhile addition to the canon of books about Johnson.”
—, Michael Schaub 

“[A] well-researched and readable history of a vast governmental effort to make America anew.”
Wall Street Journal

“Zeitz draws creatively on memoirs and White House documents. His tales… zip along with style.”
The New Republic

“Zeitz’s lively narrative foregrounds the personalities and power plays of Johnson’s White House staff…[his] lucid account yields engrossing insights into one of America’s most hopeful, productive, and tragic political eras.”
Publishers Weekly

“Zeitz presents accessible, nuanced portraits of the men behind Lyndon B. Johnson’s domestic programs…[and] effectively demonstrates how Johnson assembled one of history’s most productive White House staffs: an amalgam of committed John F. Kennedy holdovers along with new talents from academia, the newspaper world, and think tanks.”
—Library Journal

“Joshua Zeitz’s beautifully written book is not only a riveting portrait of LBJ and the talented men around him, but also a compelling reminder of what extraordinary political skill it took to enact the body of laws that made America a more humane and admirable society. Every officeholder in Washington would profit from reading this book.”
—Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 and Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life

“Zeitz argues convincingly that Johnson’s team . . . quickly became a smoothly running and effective machine, accomplishing a great amount in a relatively short time . . . A timely reconsideration of the Johnson years.”

Praise for Joshua Zeitz and Lincoln’s Boys

“A century before Harry Hopkins, Clark Clifford, or Ted Sorensen, John Hay and John Nicolay performed the duties of presidential aide, adviser, political operative, and confidant. Even the great Abraham Lincoln needed support, and Joshua Zeitz captures perfectly the intimate, interior world of the White House.”
—David Plouffe, former White House Senior Adviser

‟What a wonderful, welcome book. Zeitz has pulled off a difficult task—revealing how the myth of Lincoln came to be without distorting the true greatness of our extraordinary sixteenth president.ˮ
—Ken Burns (filmmaker)

“Joshua Zeitz’s delightful study of John Hay and John Nicolay interweaves intimate biography, political drama, and the shaping of historical memory to produce an arresting and original narrative. Above all, it reminds us that, thanks to Lincoln’s secretaries, the moral dimensions of the emancipationist Civil War could not be bleached from the historical record by an increasingly fashionable understanding of the struggle as a romantic ‘brothers’ conflict.’”
—Richard Carwardine, author of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power

“Abraham Lincoln was blessed with truly first-rate biographers in John Nicolay and John Hay, so it is ‘altogether fitting and proper’ that Nicolay and Hay have now attracted a terrific chronicler of their own life and times in Joshua Zeitz. This fine book traces the extraordinary evolution of Lincoln’s two private secretaries from clerks into tireless historians and rabid keepers of the flame. Historians have long remembered their roles as canny observers of the White House during the Civil War, but this study adds much fascinating new material about their peerless role in crafting and preserving the Lincoln image.”
—Harold Holzer, author of The Civil War in 50 Objects

“Beautifully researched and written, it restores to full stature two figures who might have been young, but left a deep mark upon history. Highly recommended.”
—Ted Widmer, former presidential speechwriter and author of Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City

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