Review of “Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960 (Vol 1)” by Robert Dallek

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Published in 1991, “Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960” is the first volume in a two-volume series on LBJ written by Robert Dallek. Dallek is a retired professor of history and the author of nearly two dozen books including a bestselling biography of JFK (which I recently read and liked) and a more recent dual-biography of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.

Covering LBJ’s life through his election as VP, this book often feels like a deliberate counterweight to Johnson’s previous biographers (notably Robert Caro and Ronnie Dugger). In Dallek’s view, earlier books portrayed Johnson in an unfairly harsh light and failed to acknowledge that his unsavory methods for accumulating and using power often led to significant legislative progress for the poor and disenfranchised.

Dallek also believes that the enormous contributions Johnson made during his political career are largely unrecognized by the public-at-large. But…

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