The Presidential Recordings:
Harry Middleton in Conversation with the
Miller Center LBJ Tapes Team
6 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2005
Thrust into the presidency by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson immediately confronted the twin challenges of leading a nation in mourning while ensuring the continuity of government. In an effort to document his presidency, Lyndon Johnson recorded many of his telephone conversations – which are now providing historians with unique insights into that turbulent time.
To mark the release of The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson, The Kennedy Assassination & the Transfer of Power ( November 22, 1963 - January 1964),a three-volume set of transcripts compiled by The University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, Harry Middleton will lead a multimedia panel discussion with editors from the Miller Center on President Johnson's eventful first ten weeks in the Oval Office.
Historians widely credit Mr. Middleton, former LBJ Library and Museum Director and current Executive Director of the LBJ Foundation, as the catalyst in making those conversations available to the public. The evening will also mark Mr. Middleton's last event with the Friends of the LBJ Library before his retirement in August as Director of the LBJ Foundation.
Evan Thomas, assistant managing editor for Newsweek, characterizes the series this way: “ Carefully, painstakingly, knowingly transcribed and annotated, here is the true story of one of the most fascinating periods in American history. There can be no better, more immediate way to understand the extraordinary character of Lyndon Johnson than to read his own words as he spoke them.”
These three volumes and DVD-ROM—a digital audio companion produced by scholars at the Miller Center, which also includes a photo gallery, highlight samples, videos of speeches, LBJ's Daily Diary, and other extras—launch a groundbreaking series that will ultimately include the complete recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson, fully transcribed, introduced, and annotated. This set covers the first 65 hours of the nearly 800 hours of Johnson's White House recordings. More information about this series can be found at www.whitehousetapes.org .
A reception in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library and Museum will follow the evening's discussion.