Descripción de editorial
A Pulitzer Prize winner’s up-close account of how a white president and a black minister ultimately came together to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
They were the unlikeliest of partners: a white Texan politician and an African American minister who led a revolution. But together, President Lyndon Johnson and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. managed to achieve a common goal.
In Judgment Days, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nick Kotz provides a behind-the-scenes look at the complicated working relationship that yielded the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—some of the most substantial civil rights legislation in American history.
Drawing on previously unavailable sources, including telephone conversations, FBI wiretaps, and communications between Johnson and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Kotz examines the events that brought the two influential men together—and the forces that ultimately drove them apart.
“[A] finely honed portrait of the civil rights partnership President Johnson and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. forged. . . . A fresh and vivid account.” —TheWashington Post Book World
King's leadership of the Civil Rights movement catalyzed a revolution in public consciousness that Johnson's matchless political skills cemented in the landmark voting and civil rights laws of the 1960s. In this engrossing narrative history, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Kotz (A Passion for Equality) follows their tense but fruitful working relationship from Johnson's assumption of the presidency in 1963 to King's assassination five years later. Theirs was a wary partnership, uneasy when they joined forces against Jim Crow in the wake of Kennedy's assassination, strained by King's opposition to the Vietnam War and continually undermined by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, who bombarded Johnson with reports of King's links to Communists and of his sexual indiscretions. In Kotz's sympathetic but complex and critical assessment, the Machiavellian politician and the visionary activist become almost brothers under the skin both genuine idealists and cool-headed, at times even ruthless political strategists, both plagued by inner demons that threatened to undo their agenda. Employing newly available telephone conversations and FBI wiretap logs, among other sources, Kotz's detailed and gripping account takes readers into the bloody trenches of the Civil Rights movement and the bitter congressional floor battles to get legislation past the segregationist bloc. It is a fascinating portrait of two leaders working at a time when the low skullduggery of politics really was infused with the highest moral values. Photos.