It will be a long time before we are able to objectively assess Lydon Johnson and his presidency. Like Woodrow Wilson or James K. Polk, he stood at the center of momentous events, exercising power with a temerity that astounded his political rivals and ultimately brought the rebuke of his constituents. Richard Harwood and Haynes Johnson, both journalists, are not about to alter our opinions: LBJ ""inherited"" the rights and wrongs of the Democratic Party's liberal sensibility; he ""made decisions based on the old assumptions,"" founded on the New Deal rock and Truman-Kennedy policies; he was ""more than a victim of himself -- of his excesses, his flamboyance, his manner and style. . .""; he was overcome by ""circumstances"" -- the JFK aura, the disdainful intellectuals, the anti-Communist legacy, the prejudice toward Southerners. ""It was genuinely an American tragedy,"" the undoing of a giant man wherein ""the selfless and soaring desire to perform good works in the world became corrupted with that arrogance of pride the Greeks called hubris."" This tells the story of that ambivalent history of the 35th President, in both forthright prose and captivating illustrations (120 in 187 pages). Not a major work in any sense. Rather an album of a flawed leader, ""like America itseff.