"Worthy, timely, and intelligent."--The New Yorker
It was a turbulent time in America--a time of sit-ins, freedom rides, a March on Washington, and a governor standing in the schoolhouse door--when John F. Kennedy sent Congress a bill to outlaw racial discrimination. Countless civil rights measures had died on Capitol Hill in the past. But this one was different because, as one influential senator put it, it was "an idea whose time has come."
In a powerful narrative layered with revealing detail, Todd S. Purdum tells the story of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, recreating the legislative maneuvering and the larger-than-life characters who made its passage possible, from the Kennedy brothers to Lyndon Johnson, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen. Drawing on extensive archival research and dozens of new interviews, Purdum brings to life this signal achievement in American history and stands as a lesson for our own troubled times about what is possible when patience, bipartisanship, and decency rule the day.