Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President

Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President

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by Robert Dallek
     
 

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Robert Dallek's brilliant two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson has received an avalanche of praise. Michael Beschloss, in The Los Angeles Times, said that it "succeeds brilliantly." The New York Times called it "rock solid" and The Washington Post hailed it as "invaluable." And Sidney Blumenthal in The Boston Globe wrote that it was "dense with astonishing incidents

Overview

Robert Dallek's brilliant two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson has received an avalanche of praise. Michael Beschloss, in The Los Angeles Times, said that it "succeeds brilliantly." The New York Times called it "rock solid" and The Washington Post hailed it as "invaluable." And Sidney Blumenthal in The Boston Globe wrote that it was "dense with astonishing incidents." Now Dallek has condensed his two-volume masterpiece into what is surely the finest one-volume biography of Johnson available. Based on years of research in over 450 manuscript collections and oral histories, as well as numerous personal interviews, this biography follows Johnson, the "human dynamo," from the Texas hill country to the White House. We see LBJ, in the House and the Senate, whirl his way through sixteen- and eighteen-hour days, talking, urging, demanding, reaching for influence and power, in an uncommonly successful congressional career. Then, in the White House, we see Johnson as the visionary leader who worked his will on Congress like no president before or since, enacting a range of crucial legislation, from Medicare and environmental protection to the most significant advances in civil rights for black Americans ever achieved. And we see the depth of Johnson's private anguish as he became increasingly ensnared in Vietnam. In these pages Johnson emerges as a man of towering intensity and anguished insecurity, of grandiose ambition and grave self-doubt, a man who was brilliant, crude, intimidating, compassionate, overbearing, driven: "A tornado in pants." Gracefully written and delicately balanced, this singular biography reveals both the greatness and the tangled complexities of one of the most extravagant characters ever to step onto the presidential stage.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Few modern presidents have been the subject of as many excellent biographies as Lyndon Johnson, and this abridgment of Dallek's masterly two-volume biography, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant, is a welcome addition to the literature. Dallek (An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963) offers a rarity-a brief but thorough life of Johnson, now 30 years after his death. This abridgment is aimed at students who may be daunted by Dallek's lengthy two volumes or Robert Caro's projected four-volume investigation. (Caro's third volume, Master of the Senate, received the Pulitzer Prize.) This book is also excellent for all readers who want a refresher or introduction to Lyndon Johnson. Dallek skillfully discusses Johnson's political triumphs (civil and voting rights, Medicare and Medicaid, federal aid to education) and failures (Vietnam, the promise to end poverty) and portrays his complex, larger-than-life personality. He concludes that Lyndon Johnson will be remembered as a President who mirrored the best and the worst of his memorable times. See also Irwin and Debi Unger's LBJ: A Life, another worthy one-volume treatment. Dallek's abridgement is no replacement for his two-volumes, based on 14 years of research, but it is a fine addition for all public libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Robert Dallek is a gifted biographer, and he is also an astute observer of politics and foreign policy. In Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President, he writes of a president trying to sustain a war in a far-off place, a war that is growing progressively unwinnable and unpopular, a war the flimsy legal authority for which rests on a congressional resolution that the public has come to understand was exaggerated at best, trumped up at worst.... This biography is timely. However you view the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, you can't read this book and not feel they are with us."—Boston Globe

"This abridgement of Dallek's masterly two-volume biography, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant, is a welcome addition to the literature...excellent for all readers who want a refresher or introduction to Lyndon Johnson."—Library Journal

"In Dallek's hands, Johnson is complex, deceitful, and idealistic, and the author shows why the man's legacy, both positive and negative, will always command interest and debate."—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199882786
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/08/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
578,623
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Robert Dallek is Professor of History at Boston University. He is the author of the definitive study, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, which received the Bancroft Prize in American History, and the best-selling An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963. A frequent commentator on radio and TV, he lives in Washington, D.C.

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Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Professor Robert Dallek provides an incredible biography of one of the most complex presidents of the twentieth century, LBJ. Readers obtain insight into a compassionate yet deceitful individual who believed in his populist social reforms; Professor Dallek believes LBJ was motivated by an impoverish childhood. Of most interest is how LBJ anguished over the Nam War that just seemed to get worse everyday and he finding no way out of the quicksand. Also interesting is the self comparison to JFK and RFK.

Well written and easy to read, LYNDON B. JOHNSON: PORTRAIT OF A PRESIDENT is a fantastic bio of an individual who wielded power like an emperor yet had a fragile ego. His legacy includes Medicare, environmental protection, and noteworthy improvements in civil rights but is often overshadowed by Viet Nam. Many of LBJ¿s accomplishments still impact Americans today thirty-five years after he left office. Professor Dallek provides the complete picture of the man in a fascinating biography that paints an interesting picture (pros and cons), not the anecdotal generalizing spin that is seen too often today. This is a great bio worth reading by everyone especially historical and political science fans.

Harriet Klausner

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