Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960

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Oxford University Press, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 721 pages
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Like other great figures of 20th-century American politics, Lyndon Johnson defies easy understanding. An unrivaled master of vote swapping, back room deals, and election-day skulduggery, he was nevertheless an outspoken New Dealer with a genuine commitment to the poor and the underprivileged. With aides and colleagues he could be overbearing, crude, and vindictive, but at other times shy, sophisticated, and magnanimous. Perhaps columnist Russell Baker said it best: Johnson "was a character out of a Russian novel...a storm of warring human instincts: sinner and saint, buffoon and statesman, cynic and sentimentalist."
But Johnson was also a representative figure. His career speaks volumes about American politics, foreign policy, and business in the forty years after 1930. As Charles de Gaulle said when he came to JFK's funeral: Kennedy was America's mask, but this man Johnson is the country's real face.
In Lone Star Rising, Robert Dallek, winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize for his study of Franklin D. Roosevelt, now turns to this fascinating "sinner and saint" to offer a brilliant, definitive portrait of a great American politician. Based on seven years of research in over 450 manuscript collections and oral histories, as well as numerous personal interviews, this first book in a two-volume biography follows Johnson's life from his childhood on the banks of the Pedernales to his election as vice-president under Kennedy. We see Johnson, the twenty-three-year-old aide to a pampered millionaire Representative, become a de facto Congressman, and at age twenty-eight the country's best state director of the National Youth Administration. We see Johnson, the "human dynamo," first in the House and then in 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.
Dallek pays full due to Johnson's failings--his obsession with being top dog, his willingness to cut corners, and worse, to get there-- but he also illuminates Johnson's sheer brilliance as a politician, the high regard in which key members of the New Deal, including FDR, held him, and his genuine concern for minorities and the downtrodden.
No president in American history is currently less admired than Lyndon Johnson. Bitter memories of Vietnam have sent Johnson's reputation into free fall, and recent biographies have painted him as a scoundrel who did more harm than good. Lone Star Rising attempts to strike a balance. It does not neglect the tawdry side of Johnson's political career, including much that is revealed for the first time. But it also reminds us that Lyndon Johnson was a man of exceptional vision, who from early in his career worked to bring the South into the mainstream of American economic and political life, to give the disadvantaged a decent chance, and to end racial segregation for the well-being of the nation.
 

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LONE STAR RISING: Lyndon B. Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960

User Review  - Kirkus

Readers who find Robert A. Caro's LBJ too Manichaean can turn to this hefty study (first of a projected two volumes), which covers the life and career of the young politico-in-a-hurry through the 1960 ... Read full review

Lone star rising: Lyndon Johnson and his times, 1908-1960

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Dallek, a historian best known for his studies of American foreign policy, has taken on Robert Caro's formidable work ( The Years of Lyndon Johnson , Vol. 1: The Path to Power , LJ 12/15/82; Vol. 2 ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction LBJ in History
3
The Making of a Politician 19081937
11
The Heritage
13
Childhood
31
Student and Teacher
62
Klebergs Secretary
93
The Making of a Congressman
125
The Congressman 19371948
157
The Senator 19491954
349
The Best Possible Senator forTexas
351
For Country Party and Self
392
Bipartisan Politics
426
The Majority Leader 19551960
465
The Making of a Majority Leader
467
The Liberal Nationalist
509
The Making of a Vice President
544

The New Dealer
159
National Politics
185
Politics Patriotism and Personal Gain
225
The Liberal As Conservative
268
Texas Elects a Senator
298
Sources
593
Abbreviations in the Notes
611
Notes
613
Index
701
Copyright

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About the author (1991)


Robert Dallek is Professor of History of the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of several books, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, for which he won a Bancroft Prize and was nominated for an American Book Award.