By Jeff Greenfield
A fantastic and brilliantly interesting journey de strength of yankee politics from one among journalism's such a lot acclaimed commentators.
History activates a dime. A neglected assembly, a unique collection of phrases, and the end result alterations dramatically. Nowhere is that this more true than within the box the place Jeff Greenfield has spent such a lot of his operating existence, American politics, and in 3 dramatic narratives in response to memoirs, histories, oral histories, clean reporting with newshounds and key contributors, and Greenfield's personal wisdom of the important gamers, he indicates simply how impressive these alterations might have been.
These issues are real: In December 1960, a suicide bomber paused fatefully whilst he observed the younger president-elect's spouse and daughter come to the door to wave goodbye...In June 1968, RFK declared victory in California, after which rather than speaking to humans in one other ballroom, as meant, was once hustled off in the course of the kitchen...In October 1976, President Gerald Ford made a severe gaffe in a debate opposed to Jimmy Carter, turning the tide in an election that were quickly narrowing.
But what if it had long past the wrong way? The situations that Greenfield depicts are startlingly lifelike, wealthy intimately, surprising of their projections, yet consistently deeply, remarkably believable. you'll by no means take into consideration contemporary American background within the comparable manner again.
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Additional resources for Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan
In spite of the fact that lengthy Lyndon Johnson continues to be in office,” the recent York occasions editorialized the next day to come, “it is sort of most unlikely to think that any second of his Presidency should be as remotely consequential as this one. ” If simply that have been precise . . . HE were THRUST into the Presidency understanding little concerning the global past his country’s borders, and worrying much less. within the Congress the place he had spent part his grownup existence, within the Senate he had made so completely his personal, he knew greater than an individual else the interaction among the boys and ladies who spoke for his or her districts and their states, and the pressures that will achieve or lose him their votes. He knew that the cloth generators within the Carolinas made protectionists out of the main ardent unfastened investors, that protection crops in California can make the main pacific of politicians zealous defenders of bombers which could now not fly and wouldn't protect an inch of yankee soil. He knew the place a federal judgeship may perhaps suggest a floodtide of contributions to a senator’s reelection, and the place it used to be little greater than a private opt to an outdated good friend. And he believed at his center that the crafting of a invoice used to be no longer easily the capacity to an finish, however the result in itself. As his long-suffering aide George Reedy positioned it: “[he believed] that for each social disease there's a self-acting legislative nostrum. In his brain, the passage of an anti-poverty invoice may still remedy poverty; the passage of an schooling invoice may still therapy illiteracy . . . ” but if it got here to the broader global, Johnson may possibly see it simply during the slender body of his personal reference. His longtime aide Harry McPherson as soon as stated of him, “I imagine that far and wide he seemed in rural Asia, what he observed used to be Johnson urban and the encompassing kingdom, and that i imagine that he believed that a similar panaceas that may be utilized to Johnson urban may be utilized to Accra or to the agricultural components of Thailand . . . yet I don’t think that the complexities of Asian background and Asian concept ever got here via to him. I don’t imagine that he ever relatively understood the truth that those humans idea another way than americans do. ” Leaders should be moved via the possibility of a dam or electrical energy; that Johnson understood. however the concept chief could “send hundreds of thousands of his countrymen to die, month after month, 12 months after yr, for an concept, a trust, was once completely, absolutely alien to him. ” He delivered to the Presidency an analogous set of assumptions that outlined many of the leaders of his time: that Communism used to be a world phenomenon and a world possibility; Communist victory wherever used to be a risk to unfastened nations—or those who allied themselves with loose nations—everywhere. during this he used to be now not that a lot assorted from the guy who used to be purported to be President; as a tender congressman, John Kennedy had joined the “Who misplaced China? ” hysteria, had helped hound reliable males out of the overseas carrier simply because that they had dared to indicate that Chiang Kai-shek used to be no longer the George Washington of Asia. in contrast to Kennedy’s, despite the fact that, Johnson’s ideals weren't tinged with subtlety.