Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2012
This is an absolutely fascinating book, wether you happened to have lived through that period in history or if you were born post-LBJ. It will give you insight not only as to how influential LBJ was in the late 50's but, more important, how he dealt with the critical events of late 1963 and early 1964 and how that helped shape our society to be what it is today. It doesn't deify LBJ by a long shot but it does explore his genius for manipulating legislators and legislative processes. Neither does the author pull any punches when it comes to the dark side of LBJ's personality and his shady (nay, shall we say illegal) dealings. The LBJ/Kennedy relationship, in particular the RFK enmity, is masterfully explored. (In fact, his treatment of RFK is almost a book within a book.) The political intrigues are explored to the nth degree.

It is well written and meticulously researched. I can only imagine, though, how hard it must have been to keep this book down to 735 pages, given the huge number of personal sources and immense amount of documentary source material available to him. It is not a "quick read" but I finished it in essentially two days because the subject is so engrossing.

I subtracted "half a star" because of the author's penchant for being overly "parenthetical", adding sometimes long comments mid-sentence, and his tendency to rehash - more than once - certain points. At times the latter does help one keep certain concepts, personalities, and events clear but more often it seems like overly nuanced recapitulation. (Unlike some of the other reviewers, I haven't read the other volumes in this authors series so I don't know how much repetition there is from book to book.)

Minor annoyances notwithstanding, this is a must-read book.
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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