Decade of Disillusionment: The Kennedy-Johnson Years

By Jim F. Heath | Go to book overview

Preface

In view of the immense quantity of records still closed to researchers and the limited perspective of time, it is perhaps presumptuous to attempt an historical evaluation of the Kennedy-Johnson years. Yet, it is a safe bet that a great many more people are interested now in the happenings of the 1960s and the presidential leadership of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson than will be interested in a hundred years. At any rate, all conclusions, no matter how well researched, are always tentative, for the very simple reason that--as the distinguished historian Frederick Jackson Turner once explained --"each age writes the history of the past anew with reference to the conditions uppermost in its own time." It is hoped that this study will help to meet the needs of readers in the seventies about their immediate past.

Many people helped to make this book possible. The searching criticisms offered by those who took time from their own busy schedules to read and comment on the manuscript contributed heavily to improving its quality. The faults that remain are mine alone. Professor Warren F. Kimball of Rutgers University-Newark, the general editor of the series in which this work appears, was a constant source of encouragement as well as penetrating and provocative criticism. Barton J. Bernstein of Stanford University has for many years been an indispensable aide in my efforts both to understand and to write history, and he again provided valuable assistance, as did John Gallman, editorial director of Indiana University Press. Two of my colleagues in the History Department at Portland State University, Jesse L. Gilmore and Michael Passi, contributed important substantive and stylistic suggestions. I benefited greatly from many extended conversations about the sixties with Marvin J. Price, a perceptive political scientist. Judith A. Letcher helped me to clarify many passages that obscured rather than illuminated. During recent years, I have periodically taught a

-xv-

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Decade of Disillusionment: The Kennedy-Johnson Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • I - Introduction 1
  • II - The Torch Is Passed 14
  • III - Opening the New Frontier 49
  • IV - Ambivalence and Action 94
  • V - The Unfulfilled Promise 143
  • VI - Transition to the Great Society 164
  • VII - The Years of Triumph 195
  • VIII - The Years of Frustration 238
  • IX - The Legacies of Disillusionment 290
  • Bibliography 304
  • Index 321
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