By Robert Dallek
Like different nice figures of 20th-century American politics, Lyndon Johnson defies effortless knowing. An unequalled grasp of vote swapping, again room bargains, and election-day skulduggery, he was once however an outspoken New broker with a real dedication to the negative and the underprivileged. With aides and co-workers he might be overbearing, crude, and vindictive, yet at different occasions shy, refined, and magnanimous. maybe 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 profession speaks volumes approximately American politics, overseas coverage, and enterprise within the 40 years after 1930. As Charles de Gaulle acknowledged whilst he got here to JFK's funeral: Kennedy was once America's masks, yet this guy Johnson is the country's genuine face.
In Lone famous person Rising, Robert Dallek, winner of the distinguished Bancroft Prize for his examine of Franklin D. Roosevelt, now turns to this interesting "sinner and saint" to supply an excellent, definitive portrait of a very good American flesh presser. in response to seven years of study in over 450 manuscript collections and oral histories, in addition to various own interviews, this primary e-book in a two-volume biography follows Johnson's lifestyles from his adolescence at the banks of the Pedernales to his election as vice-president less 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 country director of the nationwide early life management. We see Johnson, the "human dynamo," first in the home after which within the Senate, whirl his approach via 16- and eighteen-hour days, speaking, urging, hard, attaining for impact and gear, in an uncommonly winning congressional career.
Dallek can pay complete because of Johnson's failings--his obsession with being most sensible 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 individuals of the hot Deal, together with FDR, held him, and his actual trouble for minorities and the downtrodden.
No president in American heritage is presently much less trendy 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 sturdy. Lone celebrity Rising makes an attempt to strike a stability. It doesn't forget the tawdry facet of Johnson's political occupation, together with a lot that's printed for the 1st time. however it additionally reminds us that Lyndon Johnson was once a guy of outstanding imaginative and prescient, who from early in his occupation labored to convey the South into the mainstream of yank fiscal and political lifestyles, to offer the deprived a good likelihood, and to finish racial segregation for the future health of the kingdom.
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Extra resources for Lone Star Rising: Vol. 1: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960
History. For all his self-serving ambition, Johnson never forgot his childhood poverty. He had genuine and extraordinary compassion for the disadvantaged—not simply when it became politically convenient in the late fifties and early sixties, but dating from the thirties when he drove himself day and night to help black, Hispanic, and poor white Texans, and secretly aided Jewish refugees from the Nazis to enter the United States. And he saw New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society programs as not only helping the poorest among us but also serving the national well-being by expanding the material and spiritual riches of all Americans, particularly in the South.
Vietnam and his affinity for backroom dealings will always dog his reputation. But once biographers begin balancing these shortcomings with greater attention to his major historical contributions, Johnson’s virtues will become more evident. More important, we need to see his life not as a chance to indulge our sense of moral superiority, but as a way to gain an understanding of many subjects crucial to this country’s past, present, and future. Part One The Making of a Politician, 1908–1937 1 The Heritage FROM Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan, the image of the selfmade man has effectively served occupants of the White House.
Like their neighbors, they were subsistence farmers living with a minimum of the physical comforts other Americans had begun to enjoy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. To make a go of it, they mortgaged 600 acres of the farm and sold another 160 acres of it during the next twelve years. The money from the mortgage was apparently used to help build a house, outhouses, barn, smokehouse, cistern, and corrals and dig a well. Later, another house, barn, and well were added to the property some 500 yards away, where Sam’s daughter Frank and her husband Clarence Martin lived for a number of years.