Book Reviews (388). Yet there were limits to his vision. He would not tolerate the "maximum feasible participation" of the poor in the War on Poverty to challenge the political status quo. "I'd a whole lot rather have [Chicago Mayor] Dick Daley . . . handling millions of dollars" than private organizations, LBJ said in 1964 (90). And as it became clear that some local people would use antipoverty agencies as means to challenge their representatives for influence in their communities, Johnson was inflexible. "To hell with community action," he declared. Johnson had to be convinced by Bill Moyers and others that they had to "prove that a community can get together to solve its problems" (148149). It is easy to get lost in the details of these interviews, but that is a small price to pay for a book that gives the reader such a unique view into American public policymaking. There is no better measure of the contingencies that shaped antipoverty policy than these interviews' insights into the personal prejudices and rivalries, academic assumptions, individual aspirations for power, regional alliances, and even wagers on the golf course that determined the course of antipoverty programs. Texas State
Southwestern Historical Quarterly – Texas State Historical Association
Published: Jan 1, 2012
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