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The political world has an odd feature Ultimately it is a team sport, and governments and legislatures that are the most effective work together to advance policies and programs designed to improve life in our societies But for the elected officials, there are these hyper individualized moments, especially during election campaigns , where it s all about me So egos, of various shapes and sizes, are part of the game The book Mutual Contempt reveals this truth in crushing detail as it traces The political world has an odd feature Ultimately it is a team sport, and governments and legislatures that are the most effective work together to advance policies and programs designed to improve life in our societies But for the elected officials, there are these hyper individualized moments, especially during election campaigns , where it s all about me So egos, of various shapes and sizes, are part of the game The book Mutual Contempt reveals this truth in crushing detail as it traces the tortuous relationship between Robert F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson For LBJ, it was a roller coaster of a riding from master of the Senate to the frustrations of the vice presidency to his tragic presidency It was a career of significant domestic legislative achievements, but largely overshadowed by the Vietnam War For RFK, it was a path that begin as a Senater staffer to Senator Joseph McCarthy, then rose as his brother John became president, then was cut short by the consequences of the assassinations that rocked the USA in the 1960s Through it all, the relationship between the two men was marred by mistrust, jealousy, and pure bad faith as they wrestled for their places in history as the guardians of JFK s legacy It was a struggle that continued all the way to the arrangements for RFK s gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery This book is a sad one, because one is aware of all the time, thought and energy that could have been better deployed against the overwhelming social and economic challenges of the day I have read many accounts of this time period I have read biographies about both Robert Kennedy and LBJ, I have read work by Arthur Schlesinger and Clark Clifford Several works about Nixon go into his perception of this rivalry A good analogy was drawn in the book It relayed a political cartoon involving a representation of a LBJ as a stout book propped up between two bookends one labeled JFK, the other RFK Lyndon B Johnson accomplished an awful lot in his presidency but will probably alway I have read many accounts of this time period I have read biographies about both Robert Kennedy and LBJ, I have read work by Arthur Schlesinger and Clark Clifford Several works about Nixon go into his perception of this rivalry A good analogy was drawn in the book It relayed a political cartoon involving a representation of a LBJ as a stout book propped up between two bookends one labeled JFK, the other RFK Lyndon B Johnson accomplished an awful lot in his presidency but will probably always be overshadowed by the Kennedy myth and legend This book is a little slanted toward RFK , but in general is very well written, well researched and informative Not beach reading, mind you, but worth it if you are interested in politics Having read all of the Caro books on LBJ I was not sure this book would add much of interest It certainly did, giving a detailed view of the men in the context of their long rivalry and quite frankly their hated for each other I think the author did a fair job of trying to be balanced , with an honest assessment of where some of the fault lines existed in this relationship LBJ could win over politicians that were his equal or even his superiors see Richard Russell and Sam Rayburn but he ju Having read all of the Caro books on LBJ I was not sure this book would add much of interest It certainly did, giving a detailed view of the men in the context of their long rivalry and quite frankly their hated for each other I think the author did a fair job of trying to be balanced , with an honest assessment of where some of the fault lines existed in this relationship LBJ could win over politicians that were his equal or even his superiors see Richard Russell and Sam Rayburn but he just could not crack the personality of Bobby Kennedy It is clear that Kennedy did not wish to be persuaded on the relative merits of LBJ, and that animus led him to make bad judgements His attempt to move LBJ off the ticket in 1960 was finessed away by JFK, but if Bobby had his way it is very likely that JFK would not have prevailed in that election LBJ, having felt the RFK whip, remained paranoid and bitter over him right to the end Having ascended to the presidency the way he did fueled that paranoia, and had LBJ looking over his shoulder constantly The LBJ RFK rivalry is one of the most intriguing political relationships in American history, and for those interested this book is an excellent examination of the men and the relationship between two strong willed titans of the Democratic Party A detailed examination of the personality feud between Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy Shesol shows the two men at odds almost from their first meeting Johnson s ambivalence towards a 1960 presidential run, his reluctantly becoming John F Kennedy s running mate, and his chafing at the near powerless vice presidency rubbed Bobby Kennedy the wrong way Kennedy came to resent Johnsonfollowing his brother s death, feeling Johnson boorish in his assumption of power and attempts to clothe h A detailed examination of the personality feud between Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy Shesol shows the two men at odds almost from their first meeting Johnson s ambivalence towards a 1960 presidential run, his reluctantly becoming John F Kennedy s running mate, and his chafing at the near powerless vice presidency rubbed Bobby Kennedy the wrong way Kennedy came to resent Johnsonfollowing his brother s death, feeling Johnson boorish in his assumption of power and attempts to clothe himself in JFK s legacy Yet Johnson did his best to appease RFK s ego, keeping him on as Attorney General and helping his New York Senate campaign, until Kennedy soured on the Vietnam War Shesol captures this in meaty, well researched detail, showing the feud generatedby personal slights than political disagreements Still, he may overstate his case Kennedy was relatively Johnny come lately to the antiwar party, so his feud with Johnsonfairly represented than caused the liberal split over Vietnam Nonetheless, a fascinating portrait of clashing egos on a world stage Fascinating look at the politics of the 1960s viewed through the lens of a fued between two of the most compelling political characters of the 20th century Kennedy is the one who is remembered, but I think LBJ is one of the most fascinating politicans of the modern era an enigma, who was overbearing but deeply sensitive and able to be wounded, a pragmatist from Texas who did forcivil rights than any politician in the modern era. Like Shesol says in the introduction, there are few if any books that address the Johnson Kennedy feud without an obvious bias Shesol does a great job in avoiding these biases and unfolds the story of their feud on both sides, with input from both sides, in ways that show both were at fault, in their own ways, to the little triggers and potshots and paranoia that made up the feud Thoroughly engaging and well written, if loose on the impact of the feud Shesol doesn t argue the ultimate co Like Shesol says in the introduction, there are few if any books that address the Johnson Kennedy feud without an obvious bias Shesol does a great job in avoiding these biases and unfolds the story of their feud on both sides, with input from both sides, in ways that show both were at fault, in their own ways, to the little triggers and potshots and paranoia that made up the feud Thoroughly engaging and well written, if loose on the impact of the feud Shesol doesn t argue the ultimate consequence s of why the LBJ RFK feud matters until the epilogue, in an off hand few sentences, but it would ve been interesting if he had argued that it drove specific policy decisions or could ve changed the course of the war Could have benefited from editing, as he repeats himself, repeatedly, again and yet again, over and over By the 3rd time, I irritably and irrationally wanted to disagree with the perfectly reasonable assertions. Read this years ago and thought it was quite good By the end of it, you ll feel tired from all the vitriol between RFK and LBJ How mean and petty can people get An enthralling tour of Democratic politics in the 1960s While there seems to be a very slight tendency to force fit a couple events to support his thesis, Jeff Shesol s retelling of the epic struggle between Lyndon Johnson and Robert F Kennedy for the soul of the reform movement of the 1960s is a superlative example of how to write narrative history.It s also a book tinged by sadness you know how it turns out in the end The sadness comes not only from the assassinations you know are comi An enthralling tour of Democratic politics in the 1960s While there seems to be a very slight tendency to force fit a couple events to support his thesis, Jeff Shesol s retelling of the epic struggle between Lyndon Johnson and Robert F Kennedy for the soul of the reform movement of the 1960s is a superlative example of how to write narrative history.It s also a book tinged by sadness you know how it turns out in the end The sadness comes not only from the assassinations you know are coming, but also from a sense longing for what might have been an empowering version of liberalism that might have avoided being undermined and underfunded by Great Society shortcuts, and possibly avoided being short circuited by Vietnam all against the stark reality of what actually came to be And hanging over it all are the events of November 22, 1963 the 50th anniversary of which is coming up next month and, in the early parts of this book, a reminder of what an astonishingly effective president JFK really was.At the same time, after reading this work I ve come away with great sympathy for both figures LBJ s central political dilemma and his psychological plight, as well as RFK s pain and his inability to affect events without having his motives questioned.Overall, one of the best political histories I ve read Highly recommended ^DOWNLOAD EBOOK ⇯ Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade ↡ Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy loathed each other Their antagonism, propelled by clashing personalities, contrasting views, and a deep, abiding animosity, would drive them to a bitterness so deep that even civil conversation was often impossible Played out against the backdrop of the turbulent s, theirs was a monumental political battle that would shape federal policy, fracture the Democratic party, and have a lasting effect on the politics of our times Drawing on previously unexamined recordings and documents, as well as memoirs, biographies, and scores of personal interviews, Jeff Shesol weaves the threads of this epic story into a compelling narrative that reflects the impact of LBJ and RFK s tumultuous relationship on politics, civil rights, the war on poverty, and the war in Vietnam As Publishers Weekly noted, This is indispensable reading for both experts on the period and newcomers to the history of that decade An exhaustive and fascinating history Shesol s grasp of the era s history is sure, his tale often entertaining, and his research awesome Russell Baker, New York Review of Books Thorough, provocative The story assumes the dimensions of a great drama played out on a stage too vast to comprehend Jonathan Yardley, Washington PostCritic s Choice This is the most gripping political book of recent years Arthur Schlesinger, Jr A New York Times Notable Book of the Year