By Robert Dallek
Like different nice figures of 20th-century American politics, Lyndon Johnson defies effortless realizing. An unmatched grasp of vote swapping, again room offers, and election-day skulduggery, he used to be however an outspoken New broker with a real dedication to the terrible and the underprivileged. With aides and associates he can be overbearing, crude, and vindictive, yet at different occasions shy, refined, and magnanimous. possibly columnist Russell Baker acknowledged it most sensible: Johnson "was a personality out of a Russian novel...a typhoon of warring human instincts: sinner and saint, buffoon and statesman, cynic and sentimentalist."
But Johnson was once additionally a consultant determine. His occupation speaks volumes approximately American politics, international coverage, and enterprise within the 40 years after 1930. As Charles de Gaulle acknowledged while he got here to JFK's funeral: Kennedy used to be America's masks, yet this guy Johnson is the country's genuine face.
In Lone superstar Rising, Robert Dallek, winner of the celebrated Bancroft Prize for his research of Franklin D. Roosevelt, now turns to this attention-grabbing "sinner and saint" to provide a super, definitive portrait of an outstanding American flesh presser. according to seven years of analysis in over 450 manuscript collections and oral histories, in addition to a number of own interviews, this primary booklet in a two-volume biography follows Johnson's existence from his adolescence at the banks of the Pedernales to his election as vice-president lower than Kennedy. We see Johnson, the twenty-three-year-old aide to a pampered millionaire consultant, turn into a de facto Congressman, and at age twenty-eight the country's most sensible kingdom director of the nationwide early life management. We see Johnson, the "human dynamo," first in the home after which within the Senate, whirl his means via 16- and eighteen-hour days, speaking, urging, challenging, achieving for impact and gear, in an uncommonly winning congressional career.
Dallek can pay complete as a result of Johnson's failings--his obsession with being best puppy, his willingness to chop corners, and worse, to get there-- yet he additionally illuminates Johnson's sheer brilliance as a political candidate, the excessive regard within which key participants of the hot Deal, together with FDR, held him, and his actual challenge for minorities and the downtrodden.
No president in American background is presently much less prominent than Lyndon Johnson. sour thoughts of Vietnam have despatched Johnson's popularity into unfastened fall, and up to date biographies have painted him as a scoundrel who did extra damage than solid. Lone famous person Rising makes an attempt to strike a stability. It doesn't overlook the tawdry aspect of Johnson's political profession, together with a lot that's published for the 1st time. however it additionally reminds us that Lyndon Johnson was once a guy of remarkable imaginative and prescient, who from early in his occupation labored to convey the South into the mainstream of yank monetary and political lifestyles, to provide the deprived an honest likelihood, and to finish racial segregation for the healthiness of the country.
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Extra resources for Lone Star Rising: Vol. 1: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960
The caricature of Johnson has a basis in fact. Johnson was a larger-than-life personality who needed to hold center stage and advance himself at every turn. In 1973, when Johnson’s body lay in state at the LBJ Library in Austin, Harry Middleton, a former White House aide and now Library director, told someone to keep track of how many people went by the casket. ” another Johnson associate asked Middleton. ”7 Johnson overwhelmed most of his contemporaries. He needed to be the best, to outdo everybody, to surpass every presidential predecessor in every way possible.
Three percent said Johnson, 1 percent more than said Jimmy Carter and 2 percent more than said Ford. And the President setting the highest moral standards? JFK, Reagan, and Carter, in that order, led the list. Johnson stood alone in last place, chosen by only 1 percent of the sample. 2 One biographer and historian has puzzled over the popular appeal of this negative portrait of LBJ. “May be Johnson has become so hated in our time that Americans want him reduced to caricature, want him presented as … [someone] who deceived us with his promise of the Great Society, who took away our idealism and our humanity in the flames of Vietnam.
When the town barber became ill and had to retire, he bought his barber chair and tools on credit, and after practicing on friends, began giving haircuts on Saturdays and after school. Before he could finish high school, however, he was stricken by what the family called “indigestion,” or some kind of nervous condition. To cure his ills, he was sent to rest on a ranch near Marfa in southwest Texas owned by Lucius Desha Bunton, his mother’s younger brother. There is no record of his few months there, but when he returned to Stonewall, it was with a determination to become a schoolteacher and self-supporting.