Review of “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream” is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s life of Lyndon Johnson.  Published in 1976 (just three years after LBJ’s death), this was Goodwin’s first biographical work. She is now a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian who has also written about John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft.

Context is critical to understanding any author’s perspective in writing a presidential biography, and Goodwin certainly brings a unique frame of reference to her coverage of LBJ. Having met President Johnson as a White House Fellow in 1967, she maintained a close professional relationship with LBJ until his death in 1973. And her husband (Richard Goodwin) worked in both the JFK and LBJ administrations.

This ostensibly comprehensive 400-page biography memorializes Goodwin’s discussions with Johnson during the decade-long friendship they maintained and attempts to extract from them the true…

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