The Power Line Show. Ep. 155: Looking Back at the Great Society, with Amity Shlaes

More than 50 years after Lyndon Johnson launched the “Great Society” and its “war on poverty” that its architects said would eliminate all poverty in America in ten years, we still have poverty and a legacy of failed experiments in social engineering (Model Cities, anyone?) Author Amity Shlaes is out this week with her latest book, Great Society: A New History, that gives us a fine-grained look into numerous aspects of the Great Society era that most other historians have overlooked.

Amity is the author of several previous books that broke new ground in our understanding of key events in American history, especially her book on the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, and also a fine recent biography of Calvin Coolidge. In her new book, you’ll learn about a lot more than just what Johnson and his madcap social planners did, including the role of private industry for both good and ill during these days. And the real villain of the story is not who you might expect! You’ll just have to listen to find out.  Also, if you listen to my concluding remarks at the end, you’ll also be treated to an excerpt of maybe Lyndon Johnson’s greatest phone call ever, where we overhear him . . . ordering pants!

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