The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President

John Prados (Editor)
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A book and CD set, the first collection that permits Americans to listen directly to their presidents as they speak not in the studied phrases of speeches but in the real heat of the moment, based on transcripts of the conversations

The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President is a fascinating portrait of eight recent American presidents--including Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan--as they respond to some of the most critical events of the late twentieth century. Edited by historian John Prados, the book contains transcripts of the heat-of-the-moment Oval Office phone conversations and confidential meetings (often with participants who did not know they were being recorded) that changed the course of history. A comprehensive introductory essay on the history of presidential recordings and detailed introductions to the transcripts themselves put these key moments in American history in context.

Never intended for public consumption, one exchange captured here constitutes the famous "smoking gun" tapes of the Watergate era. Another sequence has Lyndon Johnson finding out from J. Edgar Hoover about the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi just as he also learns from Robert McNamara about the breaking crisis in Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin. Take together, the selected conversations with top aides, political figures, and heads of state (including Walter White, Sam Rayburn, William Colby, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham, H.R. Haldeman, Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, and Anwar el-Sadat), reveal the true inner workings of the American presidency and offer us an unparalleled opportunity to be a fly on the wall at the meetings we were never supposed to hear.

This book is published in conjunction with "White House Tapes: The President Calling," a new radio documentary produced by Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis of American Radio Works(R). A compact disc of the program accompanies this book in a set that also includes eight compact discs on the secret Oval Office recordings featured here.

Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
New Press
Publish Date
November 01, 2003
6.38 X 10.26 X 2.36 inches | 0.03 pounds
Analog Audio Cassette

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About the Author

John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive, where he directs the CIA Documentation Project and the Vietnam Documentation Project and helps in other areas. He writes books on aspects of intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security. His works include Storm Over Leyte: The Philippine Invasion and the Destruction of the Japanese Navy, Normandy Crucible, and Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun. His books on the CIA--some of which have been on CIA recommended reading lists--include The Ghosts of Langley: Into the CIA's Heart of Darkness (The New Press), Safe for Democracy, The Family Jewels, William Colby and the CIA, Presidents' Secret Wars, and The Soviet Estimate. He has consulted on historical aspects of film projects and his papers, articles, and reviews have appeared widely. Prados also designs board strategy games.


The President doesn't know the position of the administration so you can't know it.