Book Discussion on What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?
Jun 29, 2009
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Kevin Mattson talked about his book "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?:" Jimmy Carter, America’s “Malaise,” and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country
(Bloomsbury USA; June 23, .. Read More
Kevin Mattson talked about his book "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?:" Jimmy Carter, America’s “Malaise,” and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country (Bloomsbury USA; June 23, 2009). He examines the context of President Jimmy Carter’s “malaise speech” delivered from the Oval Office on July 15, 1979. In this speech the president proclaimed a “crisis of confidence” in America, one “that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will” but never said the word “malaise.” Professor Mattson characterizes it as a brave attempt by a thoughtful president to reimagine the nation and bind citizens and government in a common purpose that should still resonate today. Yet instead the speech served as the catalyst for the rise of the conservative movement and contributed to the end of the Carter presidency. He read passages to illustrate his points and responded to questions from members of the audience.
Kevin Mattson is a contemporary history professor at Ohio University. He is the author of several books, including Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century and Rebels All!: A Short History of the Conservative Mind in Postwar America.