LBJ: Architect of American Ambition (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 1024 pages
10 Reviews
For almost forty years, the verdict on Lyndon Johnson's presidency has been reduced to a handful of harsh words: tragedy, betrayal, lost opportunity. Initially, historians focused on the Vietnam War and how that conflict derailed liberalism, tarnished the nation's reputation, wasted lives, and eventually even led to Watergate. More recently, Johnson has been excoriated in more personal terms: as a player of political hardball, as the product of machine-style corruption, as an opportunist, as a cruel husband and boss.

In LBJ, Randall B. Woods, a distinguished historian of twentieth-century America and a son of Texas, offers a wholesale reappraisal and sweeping, authoritative account of the LBJ who has been lost under this baleful gaze. Woods understands the political landscape of the American South and the differences between personal failings and political principles. Thanks to the release of thousands of hours of LBJ's White House tapes, along with the declassification of tens of thousands of documents and interviews with key aides, Woods's LBJ brings crucial new evidence to bear on many key aspects of the man and the politician. As private conversations reveal, Johnson intentionally exaggerated his stereotype in many interviews, for reasons of both tactics and contempt. It is time to set the record straight.

Woods's Johnson is a flawed but deeply sympathetic character. He was born into a family with a liberal Texas tradition of public service and a strong belief in the public good. He worked tirelessly, but not just for the sake of ambition. His approach to reform at home, and to fighting fascism and communism abroad, was motivated by the same ideals and based on a liberal Christian tradition that is often forgotten today. Vietnam turned into a tragedy, but it was part and parcel of Johnson's commitment to civil rights and antipoverty reforms. LBJ offers a fascinating new history of the political upheavals of the 1960s and a new way to understand the last great burst of liberalism in America.

Johnson was a magnetic character, and his life was filled with fascinating stories and scenes. Through insights gained from interviews with his longtime secretary, his Secret Service detail, and his closest aides and confidants, Woods brings Johnson before us in vivid and unforgettable color.
  

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Review: LBJ: Architect of American Ambition

User Review  - Burt Schoeppe - Goodreads

An excellent biography. I have more respoect for LBJ as a man and as a politician after reading this book. Read full review

Review: LBJ: Architect of American Ambition

User Review  - Colleen - Goodreads

A very sympathetic portrait of a complicated man really enjoyed Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
Roots
5
Growing Up
20
College
44
The Secretary
70
Lady Bird and the NYA
92
Congress
116
Pappy
138
Containment at Home and Abroad
483
The Countryside of the World
501
Bobby
519
Barry
539
A New Bill ofRights
557
The Crux of the Matter
574
Daunted Courage
593
Castros and Kennedys Shadows
621

War
158
Truman and the Coming of the Cold War
179
Coke
196
A Populist Gentlemens Club
219
Leader
248
Passing the Lords Prayer
274
Back from the Edge
291
From Dulles to the Dixie Association
313
Lost in Space
332
Camelot Meets Mr Cornpone
375
Hanging On
400
Death and Resurrection
415
Kennedy Was Too Conservative for Me
440
Free at Last
467
A City on the Hill
649
Balancing Act
672
Divisions
693
Civil War
715
Battling Dr Strangelove
739
The Holy Land
759
Backlash
783
Of Hawks and Doves Vultures and Chickens
798
Tet
818
A Midsummer Nightmare
838
Touching the Void
865
Notes
885
Index
959
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Randall B. Woods is John A. Cooper Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, where he has taught since 1971. His Fulbright: A Biography won the 1996 Robert H. Ferrell Prize for the Best Book on American Foreign Relations and the Virginia Ledbetter Prize for the Best Book on Southern Studies. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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