Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties

Richard N. Goodwin, Author
Richard N. Goodwin, Author Little Brown and Company $19.95 (552p) ISBN 978-0-316-32024-5
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Billed as a sweeping personal retrospective of the 1960s, and coming with high praise from luminaries, this is essentially a speechwriter's memoir that functions best as high-level insider's gossip. As assistant special counsel to John Kennedy, Goodwin was privy to the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion against Castro and other matters. Yet he admits unblushingly that he knew almost nothing about the internal politics of Vietnam as late as January 1965. There are behind-the-scenes glimpses of Governor Wallace of Alabama and Che Guevara. Becoming Lyndon Johnson's chief speechwriter, Goodwin found LBJ to be a ``gargantuan manipulator'' but defends his politics (``The Great Society did not fail. It was abandoned''). His portrayal of Johnson as paranoid and out of touch with reality is certainly alarming. This self-congratulatory, rhetorically high-flown memoir also includes close-ups of Robert Kennedy and of Goodwin's role in Eugene McCarthy's bid for the presidency. (September)
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