Oxford University Press, Nov 2003, 30.00, 396 pp.
Professor provides an incredible biography of one of the most complex presidents of the twentieth century, LBJ. Readers obtain insight into a compassionate yet deceitful individual who believed in his populist social reforms; Professor Dallek believes LBJ was motivated by an impoverish childhood. Of most interest is how LBJ anguished over the Nam War that just seemed to get worse everyday and he finding no way out of the quicksand. Also interesting is the self comparison to JFK and RFK.
Well written and easy to read, LYNDON B. JOHNSON: PORTRAIT OF A PRESIDENT is a fantastic bio of an individual who wielded power like an emperor yet had a fragile ego. His legacy includes Medicare, environmental protection, and noteworthy improvements in civil rights but is often overshadowed by Viet Nam. Many of LBJ's accomplishments still impact Americans today thirty-five years after he left office. Professor Dallek provides the complete picture of the man in a fascinating biography that paints an interesting picture (pros and cons), not the anecdotal generalizing spin that is seen too often today. This is a great bio worth reading by everyone especially historical and political science fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner