TO EARN OUR HERITAGE: Selected Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson by Richard N.- Ed. Goodwin

TO EARN OUR HERITAGE: Selected Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To discover, as readers of this volume will, that the words of our Leader are like melted snow, might be surprising. But we must consider that few of these hundreds of thousands of words from speeches made over the first two years of Johnson's administration actually belong to him. His speechwriters gave him most of them. One, Richard Goodwin (who modestly takes no credit for coining ""The Great Society""), has now grouped these addresses in five sections: ""Transition"" and ""Campaign and Election"" are short, prefatory to the inclusion of major talks on ""The Great Society"" and foreign policy; the last section consists of ""Tributes"" to famous Americans. The thinnest deal with the domestic program, where repetitive sentence structures allow Johnson to fill in the blanks about his program in a simple way, his imitation of the Bible. The more solid deal with the city, where he had a few professionals working on the facts. The mode changes with the foreign policy section, without the density of the urban proposals but in which the emptiness of some of the poverty rhetoric is made up for by patriotic posturing. The ""Tributes"" are, fittingly, schoolboyish. But speeches have never been Johnson's method of ""educating"" or getting bills passed. He always preferred the whip, the carrot, and the stick in his Senate days and things seem not to have changed. Only the speechwriters remain anonymous to protect their vanity.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill