Remembering America A Voice from the Sixies HC Richard N. Goodwin 1988


SKU: 17180 Category:


Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties Hardcover
by Richard N. Goodwin (Author)

A behind-the-scenes history of the most momentous decade in American politics, now with a new introduction by the author

Richard N. Goodwin entered public service in 1958 as a law clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter. He left politics ten years later in the aftermath of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Over the course of one extraordinary decade, Goodwin orchestrated some of the noblest achievements in the history of the US government and bore witness to two of its greatest tragedies. His eloquent and inspirational memoir is one of the most captivating chronicles of those turbulent years ever published.

From the Twenty-One quiz-show scandal to the heady days of John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign to President Lyndon Johnson’s heroic vote wrangling on behalf of civil rights legislation, Remembering America brings to life the most fascinating figures and events of the era. As a member of the Kennedy administration, Goodwin charted a new course for US relations with Latin America and met in secret with Che Guevara in Uruguay. He wrote Johnson’s historic civil rights speech, “We Shall Overcome,” in support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and formulated the concept of the Great Society and its programs, which sought to eradicate poverty and racial injustice. After breaking with Johnson over the president’s commitment to the Vietnam War, Goodwin played a pivotal role in bringing antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy to within a few hundred votes of victory in the 1968 New Hampshire primary. Three months later, he was with his good friend Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles the night that the young senator’s life—and the progressive movement that had rapidly brought about such significant change—came to a devastating end.

Throughout this critical decade, Goodwin held steadfast to the passions and principles that had first led him to public service. Remembering America is a thrilling account of the breathtaking victories and heartbreaking disappointments of the 1960s, and a rousing call to action for readers committed to justice today.

“More powerfully than any other chronicler of the 60’s, Mr. Goodwin has re-created the soaring hopefulness that suffused American liberals in the early years of the decade and the sense of loss and betrayal that enveloped them at its end.” —The New York Times

“Intimate, percipient, wry, marvelously anecdotal and often profound in its grasp of politics, character and paradox. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson walk through these pages like major characters in a big novel.” —Norman Mailer

Hardcover: 552 pages
Publisher: Little Brown Company

Richard Goodwin clerked for a Supreme Court justice, played an important role in the politics of the 1960’s, and was personally acquainted with JFK, RFK, LBJ, and Eugene McCarthy. As such, one might imagine that he’s got some great stories to tell. And he does. But, lest you get the wrong idea, let me tell you some things you won’t find in Remembering America.

Like some others, I bought the book after seeing the movie Quiz Show, to read more about the Van Doren scandal. And, yes, the book is about Van Doren; it’s also about a lot of other things, and the quiz show scandal of the late 1950’s is only a small part. There’s a lot more here than that.

So many books written about JFK and RFK idolize them and give them godlike status. Goodwin clearly admires them both, and is not an impartial judge of either – but in all fairness, I don’t believe he would claim to be unbiased. But, if you’re looking for effusive, gushing praise of the Kennedys, a la Pierre Salinger, you’ll probably find Remembering America a disappointment. Goodwin presents fairly well-rounded portraits of both men.

Perhaps you want historical analysis, complete with graphs, footnotes, and scholarly reasoning. This isn’t it. This is Goodwin’s own recollections over his career, include his brief (and hilarious) Army service; his admiration of, and later pity for, Johnson; his shock and grief when Robert Kennedy (who had become a close friend by then) was assassinated; his personal impressions, memories of, and anecdotes about a wide variety of significant people, from Felix Frankfurter to Che Guevara.

Maybe you want “the voice of the sixties,” complete with all the garbage that often passes these days for political and historical thought about that period: self-indulgence, combined with the sanctimonious suggestion that the baby boomers were the only people ever to be troubled by or try to change the world around them, topped with the arrogant idea that they are always right. Nope, you won’t find that here either. Goodwin does recall that decade as turbulent, exciting, and volatile; I wouldn’t be surprised if he considered those years the best times in his life. But he does not consider the era or people to be sacred.

So what’s here to like? A hell of a lot.

Book is in near mint condition. Dust jacket shows a little wear along the edges. 1st printing. 0-316-32024-2.


Book is in near mint condition. Dust jacket shows a little wear along the edges. 1st printing.