Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Great Society

by Robert Schenkkan

The sequel to All the Way, which won the 2014 Tony for Best Play, The Great Society traces the remainder of LBJ’s tumultuous presidency, from his 1964 landslide victory to his shocking announcement only four years later that he would not run again.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 144
  • Publication Date May 09, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2373-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date May 09, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9136-6
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

“Impressive in its scope, surprisingly energetic and shines a bright, clear light on a pivotal moment in American history . . . I came away more impressed than I was with All the Way—and, ultimately, more moved.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times

The tumultuous beginning of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency that Robert Schenkkan presented in the multiple Tony-winning All the Way continues in part two, The Great Society. The play had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July 2014, directed by Bill Rauch and starring Jack Willis, and ran at the Seattle Repertory Theatre before a planned Broadway transfer in 2016. In the years from 1965 to 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a “war on poverty” even as his war in Vietnam spins out of control. Besieged by political opponents, Johnson marshals all his political wiles to try to pass some of the most important social programs in U.S. history, while the country descends into chaos over the war and backlash against civil rights. In the tradition of the great multi-part Shakespearian historical plays, The Great Society is an unflinching examination of the morality of power.

Praise

Praise for The Great Society:

“Schenkkan doesn’t need to draw any diagrams to make us feel how relevant the issues it explores remain. . . . impressive in its scope, surprisingly energetic and shines a bright, clear light on a pivotal moment in American history . . . I came away more impressed than I was with All the Way—and, ultimately, more moved.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times

“Panoramic, instructive and generally enthralling . . . We view an onslaught of challenges and crises, from Johnson’s increasingly embattled viewpoint—brilliantly counterpointed by the parallel experience of civil-rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. . . . forcefully evokes a tumultuous era, one (as Schenkkan pointedly reminds us) that set the stage for our current political and social landscape.” —Seattle Times

The Great Society continues a profound and searching engagement with a key era of recent US history . . . moves at top speed, hurtling onwards. There is hardly a slack moment . . . Schenkkan is a master of one and two line scenes that quickly shift focus. . . . it all works brilliantly. . . . When the lights came on at around 4:15 PM on opening day and we had to file out into the screaming late July Ashland sun, I was a little sad that we weren’t heading off on a dinner break before returning to follow the story ever onward – through Nixon, and Ford, and Carter.” —Portland Theater Scene

The Great Society speaks powerfully to today through the politics of yesterday . . . A taut political thriller . . . Schenkkan’s writing shines as he crafts potent drama . . . A necessary [play], and . . . a vital study for all those who wish to learn from the past in order to gain some idea of what we might do in the present.” —American-Statesman (Austin 360)

“Engrossing . . . A monumental achievement . . . Through the genius of The Great Society, we relive Selma. We relive the Watts riots in Los Angeles. We relive the Chicago race riots and Mayor Richard J. Daley . . . A great play.” —Queen Anne News