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The White House tapes : eavesdropping on the President /
[compiled, with commentary by] John Prados.
New York : The New Press : distributed by W. W. Norton, 2003.
xviii, 331 p. : facsims. ; 25 cm.
1565848527 (alk. paper)
More Details
added author
New York : The New Press : distributed by W. W. Norton, 2003.
1565848527 (alk. paper)
contents note
Franklin D. Roosevelt -- Harry S. Truman -- Dwight D. Eisenhower -- John F. Kennedy -- Lyndon B. Johnson -- Richard M. Nixon -- Gerald R. Ford -- Ronald Reagan.
general note
Includes eight sound discs (digital ; 4 3/4 in.) of secret recordings made by eight U.S. presidents, and one sound disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.) of a recording from the radio documentary "White House tapes: the President calling."
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [321]-331).
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-06-01:
In this book and accompanying CDs, independent scholar Prados enables readers to eavesdrop on sensitive conversations from eight presidencies. Some of the transcriptions have previously been published; others are published here for the first time. They are of uneven interest and quality. At the core of the book are important discussions--often around a conference table, but sometimes one-on-one or phone conversations--that illuminate policy making on civil rights, Vietnam, and Watergate. Prados rightly emphasizes that the tapes, not the transcripts, should be considered the definitive sources--a point unintentionally reinforced by the many questionable transcriptions in this book. In some cases, the transcribers have produced language that is so stilted it is implausible the individual spoke the words he is alleged to have said. In other instances, notably the transcription of Eisenhower discussing the Bricker Amendment, the transcription is almost worthless. Still, the collection provides access to the stuff of history, effectively conveying the agency of individuals and the plasticity of events. Prados's introductions to each transcript are workmanlike and sensible. More scrupulous editing of the introductory texts, and the transcripts themselves, would have made a useful book better. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All audiences. M. J. Birkner Gettysburg College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-10-27:
Starting with FDR, just about all U.S. presidents have tape-recorded at least some Oval Office conversations. Currently, more than 4,600 hours of White House tapes are known to exist, 4,000 hours' worth recorded by Nixon. Of the total, approximately half the tapes have been declassified, and it is from these that Prados (a fellow of the National Security Archive and author of Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby) presents a sampling. The conversations appear on audio CDs (plus one disk with the American Radioworks program "White House Tapes: The President Calling"), while transcripts and Prados's useful historical prefaces to each conversation appear in the accompanying book. Not all the conversations are of historical moment. On the upside, we have FDR discussing civil rights with A. Philip Randolph and in a confidential huddle with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn on the eve of WWII. Also worthwhile is JFK meeting with civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and discussing the pros and cons of supporting a coup in South Vietnam with his National Security Council in October of 1963. Excerpts from Lyndon Johnson (touching on the Gulf of Tonkin and other major incidents) and Richard Nixon (including meetings with Billy Graham and H.R. Haldeman) are noteworthy as well. But Harry Truman's distracted phone calls concerning minor ambassadorial appointments seem superfluous, and Ronald Reagan's sections of the CDs and book feature only public remarks-nothing confidential, nothing from the inner sanctum of Reagan's Oval Office. In all, these selections leave one with the clear impression that not everything that happens in the Oval Office is worth eavesdropping on. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-10-01:
Although tape recordings of conversations between Presidents and unsuspecting people became public knowledge during the 1973 Watergate hearings, tapings began with Franklin Roosevelt, not Richard Nixon. Prados, author of the praised Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby, presents a multi-CD compilation and accompanying transcript volume of taped conversations from Presidents Roosevelt through Reagan. He provides thorough introductions to each conversation in the book and acknowledges that the poor sound quality of some of the tapes made transcribing problematic. The emotion and excitement of the tapes is not revealed in the transcripts-he rightly cautions the reader that the tapes, not the written transcripts, are the authoritative record. One CD sample includes Nixon vowing to never discuss "that son-of-a-bitch Watergate event again," as he tells H.R. Haldeman, whom he has just fired, "God bless you I love you like a brother." Other CD samples include Roosevelt defending his use of black soldiers in menial positions to black leaders and Kennedy cajoling Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett to maintain law and order so James Meredith can integrate the University of Mississippi. The spoken record provided by the nine CDs makes this a worthy addition for large public and academic collections.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 2003
Library Journal, October 2003
Publishers Weekly, October 2003
School Library Journal, February 2004
Choice, June 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This comprehensive book-and-CD set brings together presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Reagan in one collection. Complete transcripts and enhanced audio of secretly taped Oval Office conversations offer the chance to listen and read along to the most pivotal events in modern US history.
Unpaid Annotation
Here are never-before-heard recordings of secretly taped Oval Office conversations with eight United States Presidents. Includes a book and 9 CDs.
Unpaid Annotation
Never intended for public consumption, the recordings of The White House Tapes offer portraits of the nation's chief executives responding to and taking action on some of the most critical events of the late 20th century. Published in 2003, this outstanding collection is now available at an affordable new price. With phone conversations and confidential meetings, the recordings offer unscripted exchanges, including the famous "smoking gun" tapes of the Watergate era. Another sequence has Lyndon Johnson finding out from J. Edgar Hoover about the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi just as he also learns from Robert McNamara about the breaking crisis in Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin. The set includes eight digitally remastered CDs of presidential conversations and transcripts of the conversations with historical introductions by John Prados. An additional CD features the companion radio documentary "White House Tapes: The President Calling," produced by Stephen Smith of American Radio Works(r) for an upcoming national broadcast on public radio.

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