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Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President [Kindle Edition]

Robert Dallek
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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

Review

"Robert Dallek, whose two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson has earned widespread praise for its evenhandedness, has abridged those 1,200 pages into a 396-page, reader-friendly one-volume edition."--The Houston Chronicle

"This abridgement of Dallek's masterly two-volume biography, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant, is a welcome addition to the literature."--Library Journal

About the Author

Robert Dallek is at Boston University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2179 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B000OKC3H4
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; abridged edition edition (January 8, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054ID9I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Repeating: Best one volume bio of LBJ April 11, 2007
Format:Paperback
Given the complexity of both the man and the times he lived in I would have thought that a one volume biography of Lyndon Johnson was impossible. While certain sacrifices are made, for example the LBJ's relationships with his contemporaries are often glossed over, the book does its job and portrays the basics of who LBJ was. Dallek also does a good job at describing the master politician that LBJ was and how that helped him craft one of the most assertive and successful legislative agenda's in American history. Lastly, he explains how LBJ's obession with Vietnam ultimately lead to his downfall. A very interesting book and a strong must read for people interested in 20th century history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portait of a complex man June 13, 2009
Format:Paperback
During the 1960s, I was one of those who Johnson saw as aiding and abetting the enemy. I was strongly opposed to the Vietnam War and participated in demonstrations to try to bring an end to the war. I saw Johnson as a very one-issue president who was more concerned with ego and grandeur than peace and justice. Mr. Dallek's biography has helped me to flush out the man and his accomplishments. He truly brought civil rights to the political forefront and created programs that helped bring African American's out of abject poverty. He tried to bring New Deal sensibilities into the 1960s. Mr. Dallek's portrait is of a man of great ego who believed strongly in his causes. This resulted in both great accomplishments and failures. This biography helps flesh out a man who is only now, forty years later, being seen from for the complex individual that he is. This is a great and enlightening read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting portrait, but clearly abridged May 2, 2010
By jm
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting portrait, but clearly abridged. The book felt very rushed towards the end as if Dallek was rushing against a page count. I wish I would have read the two volume set.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To Condensed February 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
OK for what it is but to condensed for my taste.
I would have purchasd two volume set if I were doing it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a history than a biography March 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I grew up after President Johnson had come and gone, and most of my opinions of him were generated by bad press from the Vietnam era. The man certainly had his faults, but in this biography, Robert Dallek shows some surprising sides to LBJ. The author paints a portrait of him as a man of deep convictions, but also very pragmatic. Dallek shows Johnson as a man with long-term targets, but also an ability to compromise and seek common ground. And while that made him a very formidable force in the Senate, Dallek postulates that those same traits caused him no end of trouble as President.

=== The Good Stuff ===

* Dallek relates stories that shed light on Johnson's personality and his skills as a politician and self-promoter. In one marvelous tale, Congressman Johnson visits MacArthur's headquarters in Australia at FDR's "suggestion". and talks his way onto a B25 bombing mission. The plane is shot up by Japanese fighters, but Johnson and the crew return to base unharmed. For this mission, Lyndon Johnson, but not the crew, wins the Silver Star, which allows him to return to Washington as a decorated combat veteran.

* In the earlier parts of the book, Dallek gives a reasonably fair account of LBJ. While he could be a tireless worker for improving the conditions of the poor and minorities, he was not about putting pressure on the FCC to assist his wife in her quest to own a television station. Dallek does take caution to show these actions in light of what were generally tolerated practices of the time.

* Dallek captures LBJ at his best in the Senate. Senator Johnson was capable of working 18 hour days for weeks straight, and was one of the Senate's best vote-counters and consensus builders.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of interesting details. June 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable reading for those that grew up during that period. He was a remarkable president during a pivotal time in American history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book May 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am only half way thru the book, but it is very good reading. Very informative and educational for my own knowledge.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read on a flawed character September 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very well written, told the good side and the bad side of Lyndon B. Johnson. As is the case with most presidents, before and after, Johnson was an exceptional person. His work ethic and determination are very impressive. As you can tell, he was extremely ambitious. He was flawed. He couldn't understand why the citizenry became so embroiled over Viet Nam. One can say many things about him, but one can never say that he did "nothing." Whether you agree with his use and view of government, he did lead, for better or for worse. It would have been interesting to imagine what he could have accomplished but for the lies and morass that was Viet Nam.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for LBJ
Great book! Gave me a better insight about the President.
Published 1 month ago by Pastor Jim Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great historical read on a wise politician!
Published 4 months ago by don
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Some facts about a 'decorated WWII veteran' - MacArthur will never be forgiven for that Silver Star.
Published 4 months ago by Robert Ralph Mahar
5.0 out of 5 stars ... a tragic President that really meant to help the poor achieve a...
Fascinating view of a tragic President that really meant to help the poor achieve a better life but instead got bogged down in a war on distant shores and failed on both... Read more
Published 5 months ago by WW2 Nut
4.0 out of 5 stars but this book gives great insight into Johnson's life and personality
A very interesting book. I knew very little about Johnson and was mostly interested in reading about Vietnam, but this book gives great insight into Johnson's life and personality. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Victoria Fogel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
REMINED ME OF NIXON,NOW I KNOW WHY I DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM
Published 9 months ago by bnbmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
ok
Published 9 months ago by D. Sims
5.0 out of 5 stars reads like a novel with lots of facts
Fascinating book; reads like a novel with lots of facts! I really enjoyed it!
Published 9 months ago by Loraine C.
5.0 out of 5 stars political phenonemon
This was a fascinating read not only because of Mr. Johnson but because it made you realize the manipulation and mechanisms of political life. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marge Heinz
4.0 out of 5 stars LBJ : portrait of a President
The author has done a great job of making this book complete and easy to read. Too often one associates LBJ with Vietnam and yet he accomplished so much. Read more
Published 10 months ago by EMMS
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