Lone Star Rising
Drawing upon original sources that include hundreds of taped interviews, Robert Dallek chronicles the colorful and complex life of Lyndon Johnson, ending with the presidential election of 1960. Heavily emphasizing the family background and Texas origins, the biography illuminates both Johnson’s actions and his motives.
Aspirations to leadership came naturally to Johnson, since his family had counted prominent Texans and Southerners among its members. Before encountering severe financial reverses, his father, Sam Ealy Johnson, had been a respected member of the state legislature. The elder Johnson’s experience illustrated the need for success as well as leadership.
An indifferent student in public school and lackadaisical in youth, Johnson transformed himself into a dynamo of energy after he entered college. He turned most of his energies to campus politics, and succeeded against unfavorable odds. A workaholic who set a torrid pace, he understood that he could often win through sheer effort, organization, and determination.
After his appointment in 1931 as secretary to Congressman Richard Kleberg, he gained exposure to national politics and an understanding of the workings of institutions. Elected to Congress in his own right in 1937, he became an ardent New Dealer and supporter of the Roosevelt administration. Dallek develops the important thesis that, throughout his career, Johnson sought to bring the South into the economic...
(The entire section is 397 words.)
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