- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: WW Norton (Oct. 14 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393067254
- ISBN-13: 978-0393067255
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.8 x 24.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 612 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #985,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Some of It Was Fun: Working Woth Rfk And Lbj Hardcover – Oct 14 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Katzenbach is perhaps most famous for his role in 1962–1963, as deputy attorney general under Robert F. Kennedy, confronting Mississippi governor Ross Barnett and Alabama governor George Wallace when each was forced to racially integrate their state universities. In this fascinating memoir, Katzenbach gives an invaluable insider's view of life in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, in the latter of which he was attorney general and undersecretary of state. Katzenbach is uniquely positioned to throw light on the personal and political animosities between Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson: an uncomfortable Katzenbach was often forced to become an emissary between the two. At one private White House meeting, Katzenbach has Johnson accusing the antiwar Senator Kennedy of prolonging the war, causing more American deaths: You have blood on your hands, Johnson shouted. I had never seen [Johnson] like this, Katzenbach writes, almost totally out of control.... 'I don't have to listen to this, I'm leaving,' Kennedy retorted. Such tales as this, never before told, are more than worth the price of admission. Illus. (Oct.)
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About the Author
Nicholas deB Katzenbach (1922 - 2012) taught law at Yale University and the University of Chicago, and served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, before becoming senior vice president and general counsel for IBM.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Mr. Katzenbach, who is very bright, liberal, and calm, reflects back, in a style easy to read, on his own career a the center of some of the central issues of a turbulent time--such as passage of the Voting Rights Act, Vietnam, and the discord between Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The author is especially good at explaining the widely divergent leadership styles of RFK and LBJ.
This book does not pretend to be a complete history, but is instead the focused memoirs of a now older man who once was entrusted with top positions at Justice and State during a transformational time in our nation's history.
I think Mr. Katsenbach deserves the renewed gratitude of the nation for his quiet leadership and bravery during his entire career in government, but especially for the dangerous spent days upholding the rule of law when helping to ensure voting rights in the South and the racial integration of such higher educational institutions as the University of Alabama.
After DOJ, thanks to LBJ, Katzenbach became Under Secretary of State (1966-1969). Much as is true with the Kennedys, Katzenbach intimate portrait of LBJ is invaluable, admiring but tempered with some stringent judgments on Johnson. Given his State Dept. position, he was involved in much higher level policy making than at Justice. He recounts important developments in the Vietnam War policy, African diplomacy, and affords us an unique insight into how these important decisions were made (including the role of the so-called "Wise Men" such as Dean Acheson who served as advisors to LBJ). While this material is interesting, clearly I believe Katzenbach saw his center of gravity in government service as occurring during his DOJ years--at least I hope he does.
This is not meant to be a "scholarly" treatment--there are no footnotes, or bibliography, though the author is not shy about reminding us that he was a Rhodes Scholar, is a Princeton graduate, attended Yale Law School, and taught and wrote at Chicago Law. Rather, it is a relaxed and extremenly thoughtful recollection of the author's government service during the 1960's--tempered with the passage of 40 years. Katzenback is full of judicious opinions and perceptive insights, and focuses upon the events and personalities rather than himself, which is refreshing in a Washingtion memoir. I am very glad that he chose to record his recollections, and so should anyone else who has an interest in this country during the 1960's.
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