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Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam
H. R. McMaster
0060929081
January 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
For years the popular myth surrounding the Vietnam War was that the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew what it would take to win but were consistently thwarted or ignored by the politicians in power. Now H. R. McMaster shatters this and other misconceptions about the military and Vietnam in Dereliction of Duty. Himself a West Point graduate, McMaster painstakingly waded through every memo and report concerning Vietnam from every meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to build a comprehensive picture of a house divided against itself: a president and his coterie of advisors obsessed with keeping Vietnam from becoming a political issue versus the Joint Chiefs themselves, mired in interservice rivalries and unable to reach any unified goals or conclusions about the country's conduct in the war. McMaster stresses two elements in his...


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
0684824906
October 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
The life and times of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at...


Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism
Steven Pincus
0312416334
Aug 2006
Paperback
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Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream
Doris Kearns Goodwin
0312060270
July 1991
Paperback
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Review
"The most penetrating, fascinating political biography I have ever read . . . No other President has had a biographer who had such access to his private thoughts."—The New York Times

"Magnificent, brilliant, illuminating . . . A profound analysis of both the private and the public man."—Miami Herald

"Kearns has made Lyndon Johnson so whole, so understandable that the impact of the book is difficult to describe. It might have been called 'The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson,' for he comes to seem nothing so much as a figure out of Greek tragedy."—Houston Chronicle

"Johnson's every word and deed is measured in an attempt to understand one of the most powerful yet tragic of American Presidents."—Chicago Tribune

"A fine and shrewd book . . . Extraordinary . ....


The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Robert A. Caro
0679729453
February 1990
Paperback
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Book Review
The profound understanding of the uses and abuses of power Robert Caro displayed in his 1974 biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, is a scathing achievement the author surpassed with panache in this, his second book. Caro's dogged research and refusal to accept received wisdom results in an eye-opening portrait that unforgettably captures the titanic personality of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973). Though stronger on Johnson's duplicity and naked self-promotion than his intelligence and charm, Caro nails it all. He chronicles the evolution of an attention-demanding youth from the Texas hill country into a seasoned congressman who would abandon his ardent espousal of the New Deal as soon as it ceased to be expedient. The dirty details begin with college elections that earn young Lyndon a reputation as a crook and a...


Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 3
Robert A. Caro
0394720954
April 2003
Paperback
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Book Review
Robert Caro's Master of the Senate examines in meticulous detail Lyndon Johnson's career in that body, from his arrival in 1950 (after 12 years in the House of Representatives) until his election as JFK's vice president in 1960. This, the third in a projected four-volume series, studies not only the pragmatic, ruthless, ambitious Johnson, who wielded influence with both consummate skill and "raw, elemental brutality," but also the Senate itself, which Caro describes (pre-1957) as a "cruel joke" and an "impregnable stronghold" against social change. The milestone of Johnson's Senate years was the 1957 Civil Rights Act, whose passage he single-handedly engineered. As important as the bill was--both in and of itself and as a precursor to wider-reaching civil rights legislation--it was only close to Johnson's Southern...


Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Robert A. Caro
0394528360
April 2002
Hardcover
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Book Review
Robert Caro's Master of the Senate examines in meticulous detail Lyndon Johnson's career in that body, from his arrival in 1950 (after 12 years in the House of Representatives) until his election as JFK's vice president in 1960. This, the third in a projected four-volume series, studies not only the pragmatic, ruthless, ambitious Johnson, who wielded influence with both consummate skill and "raw, elemental brutality," but also the Senate itself, which Caro describes (pre-1957) as a "cruel joke" and an "impregnable stronghold" against social change. The milestone of Johnson's Senate years was the 1957 Civil Rights Act, whose passage he single-handedly engineered. As important as the bill was--both in and of itself and as a precursor to wider-reaching civil rights legislation--it was only close to Johnson's Southern...


Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. , and the Laws That Changed America
Nick Kotz
0618088253
January 2005
Textbook Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. King's leadership of the Civil Rights movement catalyzed a revolution in public consciousness that Johnson's matchless political skills cemented in the landmark voting and civil rights laws of the 1960s. In this engrossing narrative history, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Kotz (A Passion for Equality) follows their tense but fruitful working relationship from Johnson's assumption of the presidency in 1963 to King's assassination five years later. Theirs was a wary partnership, uneasy when they joined forces against Jim Crow in the wake of Kennedy's assassination, strained by King's opposition to the Vietnam War and continually undermined by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, who bombarded Johnson with reports of King's links to Communists and of his sexual indiscretions. In Kotz's sympathetic but...


Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism: A Brief Biography with Documents
Bruce J. Schulman
0312083513
November 1994
Textbook Paperback
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White House Looks South: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson
William Edward Edward Leuchtenburg
0807130796
September 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The fraught relationship between liberal Democrats and the South is the central dynamic of 20th-century American politics, and this engrossing study does it full justice. Bancroft and Francis Parkman Award–winning historian Leuchtenberg (Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal) profiles three presidential pillars of the New Deal and Great Society. The Northern patrician Roosevelt's part-time residency in Warm Springs, Ga., endeared him to Southern voters and gave him a vantage point into Southern poverty that influenced his New Deal programs. Truman, though steeped in Missouri's cult of Confederate nostalgia, overcame personal prejudice to champion civil rights initiatives. And Johnson cannily deployed his Southernness to win passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act. Their policies, he observes, carried...


Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Robert A. Caro
067973371X
March 1991
Paperback
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Book Review
The second installment in a projected four-volume biography of LBJ that opened with The Path to Power, Means of Ascent shines a harsh light on the early political years of one of America's most paradoxical presidents. The man who would later ram civil rights legislation through a reluctant Congress, and then be brought down by Vietnam, came out of a political swamp--Caro gives a graphic picture of the Texas democratic political machine at its most corrupt. The climax of the book is LBJ's election to the Senate in 1948, an election he won by 87 dubious votes out of almost a million. That vote arguably changed history. This book won the 1990 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.

New York Times Book Review, Ronald Steel
an immensely engrossing and deeply...

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