Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've been reading Robert Caro's series of books on the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson.  I'm a little less than halfway through the third volume.  SWMBO keeps saying "why would you ever want to know that much about that man?"  I wonder, myself, some times.  There is a ton of minutia about him.  But . . . it's fascinating.  LBJ was an amazing man, a genius politician, a charmer, one of the nastiest politicos I've ever read about, a man who abused men and women who worked for him but engendered their loyalty for decades.  He was a wounded man who needed absolute command of those around him.  Freud would have gone crazy analyzing him.

From his earliest days, he had decided he "would be" President of the United States some day.  He knew that the way to do it was to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, then the Senate, then (perhaps) the Vice-Presidency and finally the ultimate prize.  His attention was focused constantly on his upward journey and he was mightily distressed when the way seemed to be slowing down.

I have spent many days in the fantastic LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.  It is a wonderment.

One has terrible confusion in reading of his life.  One minute he is a terrific public servant, the next he is a wife-abusing, staff-abusing monster.

I think Shakespeare would have had a great joy trying to define LBJ.


  1. A great way for discovering hidden sides of Presidency...

  2. How interesting. I have to be in the right 'mood' to read a biography, but when I do, I inevitably find them fascinating.

  3. He was a crook of the highest order, but, like you said, a political genius.


  4. I think he is one of our most underrated presidents. He didn't handle the camera very well and comes across stiff and cold when compared to pretty boys like Kennedy. But he did manage to get a lot done, like civil rights legislation.

  5. My historian husband says he was underrated too - flawed, but genius.

  6. My historian husband says he was underrated too - flawed, but genius.