After spending the past four months with Lyndon Johnson it’s fair to say that I found him to be the most interesting (and confounding) president since at least FDR…and perhaps ever.
Together, the nine biographies I read (including a four-volume series by Robert Caro, a two-volume series by Robert Dallek and Dallek’s series abridgment) reveal a fascinatingly complex man who was indefatigable, ambitious, ruthless, generous, conniving, sympathetic and incredibly manipulative.
With a heritage almost as modest as Abraham Lincoln’s and an adolescence shaped by World War I, the Great Depression and the unforgiving Texas Hill Country, Johnson was always a man on the move – a man perpetually running from something as well as for something.
His rise from congressional aide to President of the United States is a case study in making your own luck (and, when necessary, stealing some). But his presidential experience with Vietnam also proved…
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