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Customer Review

106 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragic look at a grand and yet tragic American giant, May 20, 1999
This review is from: Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power Ever Written (Paperback)
For those wanting to see the tragedy which is Lyndon Baines Johnson, this book, as well as the new release by Robert Dallek("Fallen Giant"), is a perfect buy.
LBJ's Presidency was, indeed, a horrible tragedy. LBJ had the greatest of intentions in regard to civil rights, social welfare and fighting Communism. Yet, all ended up as a disaster. Civil rights, though surely the greatest aspect of his Presidency, has been regressed recently due to the fact that the action taken by Democrats and Liberals during the 1960's. The "white backlash" has resulted in a right of center national attitude on the subject. The Social Welfare policies taken by the Administration were quite succesful on some parts, such as Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to K-12 public schools and Head Start, and horrible in others, such as the welfare crisis explosions and Model Cities. Yet, the overall assessment of these programs has been, unfairly I think, negative. In regard to fighting Communism, history all too tragically tells the story.
Goodwin, I think, draws a fair picture of LBJ's legacy here. She does not progress the view that he is a great President, but a would-be great President who deserves to be known as a 'good' one. He was a good one. He passed into law great programs, such as Medicare, Head Start, Minimum Wage increases, consumer protection, environmental protection and labor law reform. He pushed through 3 grant and giant civil rights laws. He is THE civil rights President, in my view. He pushed through the brand of legislation which no other President could pass through. Yet, Vietnam ruined it all. This sounds rather Clintonian! Yes, he did great things domestically, but his lies and 'credibility gap' only worsened the coming crisis in public confidence in government. For that, he deserves some rebuke.
This is also a great book for the grand human side of LBJ. Here you see LBJ as not only the great Presidential leader, but as the human. After all, we can not forget that this 'fallen giant' was indeed nothing but a human with the greatest of intentions. Unfortunately, public opinion is against LBJ to this day, as are some historians. That is a tragedy for I believe we will never have a leader who would have enough guts to say to the American people that 'we shall overcome.' May the good aspect of LBJ's legacy and works live on and be appreciated and may we simply understand his failings as only a part of the man and his vision.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 24, 2008 12:35:14 PM PDT
Texas Tea says:
I disagree w/this reviewer. All politicians lie and faulting LBJ on this point is simply moot. I also do not agree that LBJ's presidency was a tragedy. It certainly was not and all the good he accomplished lives on today. Noting this review was from 1999, it is important to note we are now 12 days from a General Election in which a black man is nearly certain to win. This belies the canard that civil rights have regressed. Unfortunately, LBJ inherited a war he did not start and did not want. It drove him into an abyss from which he would never recover. Vietnam virtually handed the Republicans the White House and Congress for all but eight of the next 26 years. History really does repeat itself, though, as yet another war is handing the Democrats the White House and Congress this year. It all begs the question: Have we learned anything at all? Right now, we could use another LBJ!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2010 5:04:54 AM PDT
Voltaire says:
Interesting to read the original review - and it goes to show what a difference 10 years can make. LBJ looks better and better, every year that goes by. A great civil rights President.

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 3:47:58 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 8:51:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2013 8:51:51 AM PST
D Therk says:
Excellent post Michael. I'm glad there is at least some people out there that are willing to look at things honestly.
Thanks,
THERK

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2013 5:00:46 AM PST
Paul Trotta says:
What is harming the economy is not our partial adoption of public health care, but the refusal of some to recognize that government incurs costs that must be paid for via taxes and the corresponding belief that the the role of government is to insure that capitialism is unfettered.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2014 9:37:55 PM PDT
As a Canadian I always find many Americans' views of universal public and government funded health care astonishing. To pay for universal health care Americans must be prepared to be taxed for it which apparently they are not. And such health care is about having a healthy nation, rich and poor, which currently you do not have. Apparently you just don't get it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2015 7:50:41 AM PDT
bvail says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 1, 2015 9:35:50 AM PST
Texas f00l says:
"Flawed Giant" by Robert Dallek is the correct title of the book mentioned in this review. Thanks for excellent review.
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