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Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream Hardcover – 1 May 1976

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 May 1976
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; First Edition First Printing edition (May 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060122846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060122843
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 . . . Poignant . . . The best [biography of LBJ] we have to date."--"Boston Globe"
"An extraordinary portrait of a generous, devious, complex, and profoundly manipulative man . . . [Kearns Goodwin] became the custodian not only of LBJ's political lore but of his memories, hopes, and nightmares . . . We have it all laid out for us in this wrenchingly intimate analysis of a man who virtues, like his faults, were on a giant scale."--"Cosmopolitan"
"Absorbing and sympathetic, warts and all."--"The Washington Post"
"A grand and fascinating portrait of a most complicated, haunted, and here appealing man."--"The Village Voice"
"Vivid . . . No other book is likely to offer a sharper, more intimate portrait of Lyndon Johnson in his full psychic undress."--"Newsweek"
"Powerful, first-rate, gratifying . . . [The author] has proven herself worthy of Lyndon Johnson's trust; for by sharing his fears and dreams with us, she has helped us to understand no just one man, but an era, and ultimately ourselves."--"Newsday"


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 . . . Poignant . . . The best [biography of LBJ] we have to date. "Boston Globe"

An extraordinary portrait of a generous, devious, complex, and profoundly manipulative man . . . [Kearns Goodwin] became the custodian not only of LBJ's political lore but of his memories, hopes, and nightmares . . . We have it all laid out for us in this wrenchingly intimate analysis of a man who virtues, like his faults, were on a giant scale. "Cosmopolitan"

Absorbing and sympathetic, warts and all. "The Washington Post"

A grand and fascinating portrait of a most complicated, haunted, and here appealing man. "The Village Voice"

Vivid . . . No other book is likely to offer a sharper, more intimate portrait of Lyndon Johnson in his full psychic undress. "Newsweek"

Powerful, first-rate, gratifying . . . [The author] has proven herself worthy of Lyndon Johnson's trust; for by sharing his fears and dreams with us, she has helped us to understand no just one man, but an era, and ultimately ourselves. "Newsday"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the celebrated historian who is also the author of "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys" and other bestsellers, has written a new foreword for this edition of" Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream." She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband and their three sons. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For those wanting to see the tragedy which is Lyndon Baines Johnson, this book, as well as the new release by Robert Dallek("Fallen Giant"), is a perfect buy.
LBJ's Presidency was, indeed, a horrible tragedy. LBJ had the greatest of intentions in regard to civil rights, social welfare and fighting Communism. Yet, all ended up as a disaster. Civil rights, though surely the greatest aspect of his Presidency, has been regressed recently due to the fact that the action taken by Democrats and Liberals during the 1960's. The "white backlash" has resulted in a right of center national attitude on the subject. The Social Welfare policies taken by the Administration were quite succesful on some parts, such as Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to K-12 public schools and Head Start, and horrible in others, such as the welfare crisis explosions and Model Cities. Yet, the overall assessment of these programs has been, unfairly I think, negative. In regard to fighting Communism, history all too tragically tells the story.
Goodwin, I think, draws a fair picture of LBJ's legacy here. She does not progress the view that he is a great President, but a would-be great President who deserves to be known as a 'good' one. He was a good one. He passed into law great programs, such as Medicare, Head Start, Minimum Wage increases, consumer protection, environmental protection and labor law reform. He pushed through 3 grant and giant civil rights laws. He is THE civil rights President, in my view. He pushed through the brand of legislation which no other President could pass through. Yet, Vietnam ruined it all. This sounds rather Clintonian!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great biography of one of the greatest Presidents of the twentieth century. Lyndon Johnson, whether people like it or not, has left an indelible mark on American society with his programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, his tough and admirable stance on civil rights, and, in a very different way - his war in Vietnam.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, who first met Johnson while a student at Harvard, and became close to him in his later life, has written a book that is much a memoir of her times with the man as it is a general overview of his life. Other reviewers have complained that her study of Johnson is too psychological, and places too much importance on linking his childhood experiences to his later life. I strongly disagree. Too many biographies of important people seem to gloss over their childhood, but understanding a person's childhood is paramount in understanding how it shaped their outlook on life. Another common complaint of this book is that Goodwin is not critical enough of Johnson, but again, anyone who has read this book properly will know this is simply not true. Goodwin time and time again highlights Johnson's flaws - his tendency to withdraw from competition if he felt there was the slightest chance of him losing, his childlike love of power, and his inability to admit where he went wrong. If anything, I believe the author does not praise Johnson high enough.
Vietnam of course was a mistake, no one in their right mind would claim otherwise, but domestically, Johnson was an undeniably outstanding President. People have time and time again claimed that Vietnam was the main factor that undermined Johnson's Presidency, which I agree with, but I also think the other big mistake Johnson made was becoming President after Kennedy.
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By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Doris Kearns prefers to write about people she likes. This is fine, even if it is something of a limitation. WHile she prefers to avoid the "pathography" genre, unfortunately I feel that she gives people of power a bit too much of a break. She clearly lives in a different world than Robert A. Caro, who tries to balance the good with the undeniable evil and abuse. Kearns' world is populated by people of good will, inspiration, and talent; their backroom deals, egotism, and other less appealing aspects are mentioned, but do not seem to infect the more positive sides of their character. It is one view, and quite valid as far as it goes.

ALso, Kearns' personal presence is in this book. SHe was an aide for Johnson, whom he cultivated and then used to ghost-write his self-serving memoir, The Vantage Point. So she is well versed in Johnsonia and 60s history and has great stories to tell about Presidential electric toothbrushes and the like. But you can also tell that she loved the guy - he would even creep into her bed at his ranch, where she describes herself as listening to him instead of you know what. I think that that great pol seduced her, if not physically then spiritually.

Kearns' voice is an important one, as her presence on TV attests. SHe is a fluent writer with a distinctive voice of unwavering optimism. However, you just have to wonder if she glides on the surface and avoids the tough questions, preferring instead to buy into self-promoting myth.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had expected a more thorough analysis of the socio-political dynamic of post war America. There is a somewhat dated feel to the style and quasi Freudian tone of some of the commentary. Despite this speculation, LBJ remains elusive. A man of contrasts and ambiguities, masks that do fall away only reveal other masks. Swift would have recognised a kindred spirit.
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