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History's Romance: Why Politics Past Beats Politics Present

Gwen's Take

Is it just my imagination, or have politics and politicians grown smaller?

I've been flirting with this conclusion after diving into two enjoyable presidential history books by night while covering 2012 politics by day. The books, Robert Caro's "The Passage of Power" and "The President's Club" by Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, take us inside the West Wing in a way screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s fictional White House never could.

Summer 2012 Reading List

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Looking for some good summer reading? Check out the books Gwen and the Washington Week panelists recommend for the beach, the car, the plane or the pool. From fiction to politics, history to biography, there is something for everybody. The smartest reporters in Washington, D.C. bring you their suggestions for the summer's best reads.


Robert Caro revives Kennedy-Johnson feud

Essential Reads

To be a Democrat in Washington in the mid-1960s was to be confronted daily with the burning question: Which side are you on? There was the side with the power, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his team in the White House. And there was the side with the glamour, Robert F. Kennedy and his team of loyalists— mourning the death of John F. Kennedy, appalled by a man they regarded as a crude pretender in the Oval Office, dreaming of the day when the Kennedy reign would be restored.

PBS NewsHour: LBJ's 'Passage of Power': The Transformation of a 'Legislative Genius'

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Historian Robert Caro has spent nearly four decades telling the story of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Gwen Ifill and Caro discuss the pivotal four years between 1960 and 1964 when Johnson rose from senator to an overshadowed vice president, and then to president -- the premise of his latest biography, "The Passage of Power."