A VERY PERSONAL PRESIDENCY by Hugh Sidey

A VERY PERSONAL PRESIDENCY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is certainly not the first unflattering portrait to be drawn of Our Leader, but miraculously Mr. Sidey has managed to keep the note of outrage from this series of short sketches, chronological reconstructions and personal asides. Mr. Sidey has sidled around the White House for some time on behalf of Life and Time, and while obviously hip on the official and unofficial details of crisis management, he is concerned here with communicative processes of Lyndon Johnson, not so much in terms of success or failure, but as indications of a total personality. Sidey seems to be the first in our knowledge to obviate the personal magnetism and power of the President's presence, to ""cut him down"" without contempt or anger. The conclusions are perhaps not new--Johnson's ""managerial technique"" of man-to-man persuasion was just not effective on a broad front. He failed both to educate and inspire. ""He did not enlighten; he promised. He did not inspire; he promised."" He decided to retire, the author reasons, because he realized he was in trouble and that his time was up. The many public and private views of the President--from a supremely happy incognito visit to a bull auction to a grim plodding ""without visible inspiration"" through a Malaysia village--shade out the portrait. Mr. Sidey's Bobby bias appears at times, but his compassion softens the scrutiny.

Pub Date: July 18th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum