Rural roads did not get paved until the late s and s, when electricity also began to become available. Clothes were washed by hand with water drawn from wells. The outhouse was far more common than in- house plumbing. At night, light came from kerosene lamps. Meals were cooked on woodstoves with lunch, usually called dinner, the main meal of the day. What we would today call dinner was referred to as supper. There was, of course, no vacuum cleaner. Sweeping had to be done with brooms. Sweeping, carrying in wood and water, cooking over hot woodstoves, and scrubbing clothes on washboards in tin tubs made a hard life for women like Rebekah Johnson.
Sam and Rebekah were—or at least thought of themselves as—a cut above the usual run of country folk. Sam had already been elected to the Texas legislature and was concluding his second term when Lyndon was born. Rebekah had graduated from Baylor University at a time when college was beyond the reach of most American women and practically all of those living on a farm.
Lyndon liked to brag, "My ancestors were teachers and lawyers and college presidents and governors when the Kennedys in this country were still tending bar. His mother, however, was more interested in the genteel than the pioneer side of the family background. This concern made her come close to turning her child into what other boys would call a sissy. Years later, Lyndon recalled, "one of the first things I remember about my daddy was the time he cut my hair.
When I was four or five I had long curls. You''ve got to cut those curls. Then one Sunday morning when she went off to church, he took the big scissors and cut off all my hair. When my mother came home, she refused to speak to him for a week. When Johnson was eight, he made clear he shared his father''s concern by stopping the violin and dancing lessons his mother had arranged.
His mother reacted just as she had to the haircut: His mother''s conditional love seems to have affected Johnson in two ways. First, he always worried that whatever approval he might receive could be quickly withdrawn. And second, he imitated his mother in his relationships with others, offering generous love until the recipient disappointed him and then administering to that unfortunate soul "the Johnson freeze- out," the same treatment his mother had given him.
Johnson had an idealized view of his mother, describing her as "sweet" and "gentle. She was an unrelenting snob who reminded everyone in the first few minutes of a meeting that her ancestry included high-ranking Baptist clerics and intellectuals. As he grew older, Lyndon was fascinated by the political world in which his father dwelt. When Lyndon was ten, in , Sam was again elected to the Texas legislature.
In the next six years, Lyndon often accompanied his father to the legislative chamber in Austin.
Fascinated by the proceedings on the floor, he watched for hours and then wandered through the halls, soaking up the backstage gossip. Though a so-so student in school, Lyndon proved to be what one of his father''s colleagues described as a "very bright and alert" observer of legislative wheeling and dealing. Lyndon also loved the constant campaigning that was necessary to preserve his father''s seat. He would bring the neighbors up to date on local gossip, talk about the crops and about the bills he''d introduced in the legislature. Christ, sometimes I wished it could go on forever.
Sam''s love of politics and his hatred of bigotry—he took on the Ku Klux Klan when it still dominated Texas—made a lasting impact on his son. But Sam also endowed Lyndon with something considerably less desirable, a taste for alcohol. Sam drank too much, and his drinking caused continuing tension in his marriage. This was the age of the Woman''s Christian Temperance Union, the movement that led the nation to amend its constitution in to prohibit the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages.
The movement, though fueled by the many domestic tragedies brought about by excessive drinking, had at its core an unattractive self-righteousness, which Rebekah brought in full measure to her relationship with Sam. She would enlist Lyndon in denouncing his father''s unfortunate habit. As in most such cases in that era, there was a lot of anger accompanied by little attempt to understand the problem. With his domestic programs well underway, he turned to Vietnam. Although the war was a Kennedy legacy, Johnson had begun to put his own stamp on it in when U. Despite an intensification of bombing and an increase in the number of U.
Then he lost credibility after the Tet Offensive in Bernstein shows what went on behind the scenes and gives wonderful sketches of the participants. Doris Kearns Goodwin Product Description: Doris Kearns Goodwin's classic life of Lyndon Johnson, who presided over the Great Society, the Vietnam War, and other defining moments the tumultuous s, is a monument in political biography. From the moment the author, then a young woman from Harvard, first encountered President Johnson at a White House dance in the spring of , she became fascinated by the man—his character, his enormous energy and drive, and his manner of wielding these gifts in an endless pursuit of power.
As a member of his White House staff, she soon became his personal confidante, and in the years before his death he revealed himself to her as he did to no other. Widely praised and enormously popular, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream is a work of biography like few others. With uncanny insight and a richly engrossing style, the author renders LBJ in all his vibrant, conflicted humanity. No other President has had a biographer who had such access to his private thoughts. A profound analysis of both the private and the public man.
It might have been called 'The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson,' for he comes to seem nothing so much as a figure out of Greek tragedy.
The best [biography of LBJ: Sep 21, We were talking about diaries and LBJ has one online: I believe he did not do the diary, but his secretaries, but interesting nevertheless. Wow, what a little treasure trove! Interesting that the entries were made by the secretaries, it takes on a bit of a 'call it as I see it' sort of quality rather than instant editing which might be more prone from the first person account. Oct 07, I like to visit a historical site's museum store and the good news is that we covered most of the stuff already, but here are some adds: Johnson by Joseph A.
I found some more: Andrew by Michael R.
Lyndon B. Johnson: The American Presidents Series: The 36th President, Front Cover. Charles Peters. Henry Holt and Company. The towering figure who sought to transform America into a "Great Society" but whose ambitions and presidency collapsed in the tragedy Lyndon B. Johnson: The American Presidents Series: The 36th President,
Beschloss by Michael R. Beschloss by David M.
Barrett by David Halberstam by Robert S. I don't think we can go wrong with this list if we need to vote. Wow, some great choices for LBJ reading.
The hard part will be choosing where to start! I am so glad we have threads for each President so there is always a reference point to dig into whenever the mood strikes. Dec 14, Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy loathed each other. Their antagonism, propelled by clashing personalities, contrasting views, and a deep, abiding animosity, would drive them to a bitterness so deep that even civil conversation was often impossible.
Played out against the backdrop of the turbulent s, theirs was a monumental political battle that would shape federal policy, fracture the Democratic party, and have a lasting effect on the politics of our times. Drawing on previously unexamined recordings and documents, as well as memoirs, biographies, and scores of personal interviews, Jeff Shesol weaves the threads of this epic story into a compelling narrative that reflects the impact of LBJ and RFK's tumultuous relationship on politics, civil rights, the war on poverty, and the war in Vietnam.
A book on Johnson on the day of Kennedy's assassination: In this fresh take on John F. Kennedy's assassination, history professor Gillon probes the chaos that surrounded Vice President Johnson's ascension to power as he coped with both the trauma of Kennedy's murder and the enmity of Kennedy's inner circle.
At Parkland Hospital in Dallas, a battle of wills between Johnson and JFK's inner circle-including appointments secretary Kenneth O'Donnell and military aide Brigadier General Godfrey McHugh-contributed to the confusion then and now over the timeline of Kennedy's death and Johnson's assuming the presidency. Leading the anti-Johnson contingent was the president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who tussled with LBJ over the swearing-in details both disagreed bitterly about the episode afterwards.
Johnson faltered as he moved into the spotlight, trying in vain to adopt Camelot as his own by trying unsuccessfully to console Jackie and persuading with varying degrees of success Kennedy staffers to stay on. Gillon captures the two faces of Johnson-the insecure second-guesser and the brilliant politician-as well as the earliest signs of the Johnson presidency's eventual failure.
Mar 30, Robert Dallek combined his two volume history into one, so here it is: Dallek's work reflects impressive detachment toward a figure about whom few were neutral, least of all LBJ himself. He inherited an elevated sense of self, according to Dallek, who describes the Johnson family's relatively high place on the local social ladder despite their poverty. But LBJ's ego was strangely fragile and self-pitying, and in the conclusion, Dallek questions, after narrating the fateful decisions to escalate the Vietnam conflict, Johnson's "capacity to make rational life and death decisions.
On the un-seamy side, Dallek credits LBJ's personal experience with poverty as a motive in his championing the social and civil rights enactments of the s. 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.
Here is another biography written by a Texan: Ronnie Dugger is a scholar, journalist, author, and deeply rooted Texan who witnessed firsthand the career of Lyndon Johnson, who is here portrayed as an enormously energetic man of equally enormous contradictions.
His inherited populism was at odds with and, in the end, was destroyed by his lust for power. He was a liberal who nonetheless played toady to oil, power, and construction interests; a politician who worked to make a better life for the poor and yet shamelessly used politics to become wealthy; a true macho frontiersman who stayed home when war came and glorified his one combat experience for political gain.
Here, also, is the other Johnson: This book is not only a biography of Lyndon Johnson but an attempt to understand fifty years of American history, the period the author calls the Johnson Era. Aug 07, Carter After the passage of sweeping civil rights and voting rights legislation in and , the civil rights movement stood poised to build on considerable momentum.
Johnson declared that victory in the next battle for civil rights would be measured in "equal results" rather than equal rights and opportunities. It seemed that for a brief moment the White House and champions of racial equality shared the same objectives and priorities. Finding common ground proved elusive, however, in a climate of growing social and political unrest marked by urban riots, the Vietnam War, and resurgent conservatism.
Examining grassroots movements and organizations and their complicated relationships with the federal government and state authorities between and , David C. Carter takes readers through the inner workings of local civil rights coalitions as they tried to maintain strength within their organizations while facing both overt and subtle opposition from state and federal officials.
He also highlights internal debates and divisions within the White House and the executive branch, demonstrating that the federal government's relationship to the movement and its major goals was never as clear-cut as the president's progressive rhetoric suggested.
Carter reveals the complex and often tense relationships between the Johnson administration and activist groups advocating further social change, and he extends the traditional timeline of the civil rights movement beyond the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Mar 02, The fourth book is about to be published. The Passage of Power follows Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career. It tells the story of his volatile relationship with John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy during the fight they waged for the Democratic nomination for president and through Johnson's unhappy vice presidency. It gives us for the first time the story of the assassination from the viewpoint of Lyndon Johnson himself. And with the depth of insight, the profound grasp of both the life and times of his subject that Robert Caro has consistently brought to this mesmerizing biography, it reveals what it was like to suddenly become president in a time of great crisis--an assumption of presidential power unprecedented in American history; how he stepped, unprepared, into the presidency and within weeks forced through Congress bills on the budget and civil rights that it had determined to let die; how through his singular political genius he set out to make the presidency his own, and to fulfill the highest purpose of the office.
It is Johnson's finest hour, before his aspirations and his accomplishments were overshadowed and eroded by the trap of Vietnam. Apr 10, Nearly fifty years after being sworn in as president of the United States in the wake of John F. But he was one of the most protean and paradoxical of presidents as well. His War on Poverty alone brought the U. As president, he was known for getting things done. Presidential historian Mark K. May 09, Few men wielded more influence over the politics of their day than Richard Russell of Georgia and Lyndon Johnson of Texas.
Russell, as the intellectual and political leader of the Southern bloc in the Senate, was Johnson's friend and mentor on Capitol Hill; but the friendship did not survive Johnson's presidency, when tensions between them increased and a patronage squabble precipitated an angry break.
Colleagues describes their tangled and changing relationship through such events as the McCarthy censure, the and Civil Rights Acts, the Vietnam War, and the Kennedy assassination. With information gleaned from copious notes made by Russell himself, as well as oral history accounts and other original sources, Goldsmith provides a comprehensive and engaging account of a friendship that had significant ramifications for the nation's governance.
Colleagues also serves to demonstrate how political and personal friendships are created, shaped, and sometimes destroyed by the pressures and stresses of today's national political forum. Thanks Bryan, added it to my list. I think these kinds of behind-the-scenes tensions are fascinating. LBJ sought out Russell very early in his Senate career, because he knew how powerful he was. It should be a good read.
Oct 03, I am currently reading, "The Passage of Power. I did not know that JFK was so sick. I am on Chapter 3 at this time. Oct 04,