LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT by John Devaney

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This brisk tour through the life of the 36th president gives a sharp look at the game of politics as played by a consummate master. After a rather brutal depiction of the Kennedy assassination, a flashback shows Johnson's rural Texas beginnings and how early experiences informed his life. The son of a politician who failed because he refused to ""go along to get along,"" Johnson never made that mistake. He used the technique throughout his career. From his college days, he is shown as a wheeler-dealer with a talent for finding older men for mentors and hypnotizing subordinates to go along with him. Few of his character defects go unremarked, but his virtues--courage, shrewdness, tenacity, pragmatic realism--are also demonstrated, as is the fact that his vices and virtues combined to form the basis of his success. His personal life is barely touched upon: Lady Bird emerges as a hypnotized cipher. Devaney concludes that LBJ may not have been great but he certainly was unique. Written in journalistic style, with ample cliches, this shares LBJ's virtues of realism and pragmatism in the telling. The reader who wants an entertaining look at a historical figure on whom the jury is still out will enjoy it.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1986
Publisher: Walker