Great Society/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Great Society.
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Political context

  • Andrew, John A. Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Blum, John Morton. Years of Discord: American Politics and Society, 1961–1974 (1991)
  • Dallek, Robert. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (1991), online edition vol 1; Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 (1998) online edition vol 2; also: Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President (2004). A 400-page abridged version of his 2 volume scholarly biography, online edition of short version.
  • Davies, Gareth. From Opportunity to Entitlement: The Transformation and Decline of Great Society Liberalism (1998)
  • Isserman, Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (1999)
  • Matusow, Allan J. The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (1984)
  • Schulman, Bruce J. Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism: A Brief Biography with Documents (1995)
  • Woods, Randall. LBJ: Architect of American Ambition (2006). A highly detailed scholarly biography (1000 pages). excerpt and online search from
  • Unger, Irwin. The Best of Intentions: the triumphs and failures of the Great Society under Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon (1996)

Specialty studies

  • Brauer, Carl M. "Kennedy, Johnson, and the War on Poverty," Journal of American History 69 (1982): 98–119. in JSTOR
  • Colgrove, James. "Reform and Its Discontents: Public Health in New York City During the Great Society" Journal of Policy History v19#1 (2007) 3-28 in Project Muse
  • Engel, Jonathan. Poor People's Medicine: Medicaid and American Charity Care since 1965. (2006).
  • Ginzberg, Eli, and Robert M. Solow, eds. The Great Society: Lessons for the Future (1974) 11 chapters on each programs, by experts; online edition
  • Helsing, Jeffrey W. Johnson's War/Johnson's Great Society: the guns and butter trap (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Kaplan, Marshall, and Peggy L. Cuciti; The Great Society and Its Legacy: Twenty Years of U.S. Social Policy (1986) online edition
  • Jordan Barbara C. and Elspeth D. Rostow (editors) The Great Society: a twenty year critique: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs (1986)
  • Katznelson, Ira/ "Was the Great Society a Lost Opportunity?" in Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle, eds., The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930–1980 (1989)
  • Kermit, Gordon (ed.) Agenda for the Nation, The Brookings Institution. (1968)
  • Milkis, Sidney M. and Jerome M. Mileur, eds. The Great Society And The High Tide Of Liberalism (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Murray, Charles. Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 (1985), influential attack from the right* * Stevens, Robert, and Rosemary Stevens. Welfare Medicine in America: A Case Study of Medicaid (1974)
  • Schrag, Zachary M. The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro. (2006). 376 pp.
  • Zarefsky, David. President Johnson's War on Poverty: Rhetoric and History (1986) online edition

Primary sources

  • Johnson Lyndon B. My Hope for America, (1964) , speeches; primary source