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Inside the Oval Office: The White House Tapes from FDR to Clinton MP3 CD – Mar 1 2008


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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; MP3 Una edition (March 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433234548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433234545
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,409,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
A delegation of civil rights leaders was filing into the oval Office to push Franklin Roosevelt to embrace a radical,explosive, concept: integrate the armed forces of the United States. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
It's a little mindblowing to realize such a historical resource exists: Recordings of presidents in the Oval Office discussing matters of state, negotiating with world leaders, and offering often-candidly caustic opinions of their contemporaries.
While William Doyle's "Inside The Oval Office" is subtitled "The White House Tapes From FDR To Clinton," this is a misnomer. As others here point out, there's really only a trio of presidents that taped themselves at work with any regularity, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and four more (Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Ford) that did so even at all. Reagan and Clinton both had video crews film some of their formal meetings, but Bush 41 and Carter avoided anything more involved than private diary tapings in recording the doings of their administrations.
Despite the uneven nature of this record, Doyle tries his best to analyze each president's administration from a purely executive-managerial level, sometimes using the tapes as a guide but just as often relying on contemporaneous accounts and even interviews with people who were in the room with the various chief executives. The result is some fascinating portraits in miniature of the vastly different leadership styles America have elected to its helm.
Doyle manages effective profiles of each man, but delivers the goods best on the ones, not surprisingly, who did the most taping. LBJ verbally bludgeons cowering senators to pass aggressive civil rights legislation and tells a pants manufacturer to give him some slacks with more room for his testicles, employing some decidedly earthy terminology in both instances. Kennedy and his Best and Brightest advisor team listen in on reports from Ole Miss while James Meredith is enrolled as a student there and the campus erupts into a combat zone.
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By A Customer on April 3 2002
Format: Hardcover
The "saskatoonguy" description of the book dated 24 April 01 pretty much nailed it on the head. The book is more about the personal and management styles of Presidents Roosevelt through Clinton. The reference to tape recordings is more of a come-on to attract readers. The recordings are more of a sidelight in this description of the administrative styles of the referenced presidents.
In fairness, though, recordings were used minimally by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower and the post-Nixon administrations shied away from recordings as well (although video recordings of certain events started under President Reagan). Only Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon made extensive use tape recordings and the first two still exercised control over what was recorded -- a practice that Nixon did not adopt and later regretted. The most memorable examples used were a couple of Johnson's recordings. A somewhat humorous recording, in spite of the tragic circumstances, was President Johnson's arm twisting his mentor, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, into serving on the Warren Commission. Senator Russell despised Earl Warren. The second was a meeting to determine whether the Administration would commit 200,000 more troops to Vietnam where President Johnson finally decided to reverse his policy and start pulling back from that unpleasant and costly adventure.
As for the descriptions of the administrations themselves, the book, in my opinion, is a testimonial to how too much emphasis is put on "qualifications" to be President. Each individual who has served in the Oval Office, including the current occupant and his successors, will have certain strengths and weaknesses that may prepare them well for the challenges that confront them, or not prepare them well at all.
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Format: Audio Cassette
After reading and listening to "Taking Charge," which was about LBJ's secret tapes, I was expecting the audio version of "Inside the Oval Office" to use many more actual recordings. Instead, the reader reads transcripts of conversations. The tapes contain a few actual recordings but very few, about one per president. Inexplicably, it presents no actual recordings of Reagan, Bush or Clinton. This was a disappointment since I knew from listening to "Taking Charge" that actual recordings contain great insights into the men who inhabited the White House. A reader cannot possibly capture the nuances of language used by our 20th century presidents. There is a great difference between hearing a president's actual words and having them read from transcripts. However, the content of the book and audiotapes provide a facinating glimpse inside the oval office.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book and rewards the reader with insight into the modern presidency. It talks about each President's strengths and how each of them got themselves into trouble and it illustrates its points using each President's own words. Because it is less than 400 pages long it is hard for Doyle to support all the claims he makes, but it is still worth reading. More than that, it is worth owning and re-reading. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that I think the book could have gone a bit deeper into each presidency without adding too much length. It was just a bit too much this side of a tourist's guide to each presidency.
But there are so many wonderful and new insights that I feel guilty for not giving it five stars. So, if you want, just imagine that I did give it the full five with this little caveat.
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