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Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
Turnaround
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

The Lyndon Johnson Story
by Booth Mooney



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 29 full quotes from Lyndon Johnson in the book The Lyndon Johnson Story, by Booth Mooney.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book was originally published in 1956, when Johnson was Senate Leader. It was then expanded upon in 1964, adding materials about his Vice Presidency and early Presidency. The author, Booth Mooney, was Johnson's executive assistant when Johnson was a Senator. However, the book is an "unauthorized biography," i.e. Johnson did not approve its content (the author and Johnson parted on "permanent" terms, p. xix), although Johnson wrote the foreword to the 1956 edition. This book is hence an insider's look at Johnson's years in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and a well-informed reporter's look at the White House years.

The core question for modern readers of this book--and the core historical question of Johnson's presidency--is: "Why did Johnson invest so heavily in Vietnam?" While President Nixon takes a lot of heat for the Vietnam War, it was President Johnson who ratcheted up U.S. involvement, leaving Nixon with limited choices about how to get out. This book, written before Johnson's major decisions about escalating the American military presence in Vietnam, makes clear that Johnson's pro-war policy in Vietnam was not a policy unique to that country. He pushed for military action early in the Korean War (1950, p. 70); he pushed for "preparedness" for the Cold War prior to that (1949, p. 67); he pushed for maintaining military strength after WWII (1945, p. 52); and he pushed for military base construction prior to WWII (1940, p. 36). In that context, Vietnam was just another war that Johnson could push for more military preparedness and more military action--but with Johnson as President, Vietnam became a deep, long, and damaging enterprise.

It is challenging for the modern reader to look beyond Vietnam, the elephant in the room in Johnson's story. But this book also shows how Johnson's legislative history laid the groundwork for Johnson's other presidential accomplishments. The Great Society was anticipated by Johnson's focus on rural development in Texas in the 1930s and 1940s (p. 33). The well-known Civil Rights Act of 1964 was preceded by the legislation that Johnson pushed as Senate Majority Leader, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 (p. 148). The space program, begun by Pres. Kennedy and culminating in the moon landing under Pres. Nixon only 6 months after Nixon took office, was urged by Johnson in the 1950s Senate and expanded under his presidency (p. 150) with little lasting credit.

Modern politicians do not look back to Johnson as a positive example of anything. Modern Republicans sometimes bash Johnson's "War on Poverty" but modern Democrats attribute most entitlement programs to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who started them, rather than Johnson, who built them into their current organization. Modern Democrats routinely cite Pres. Kennedy as inspiration, even though Johnson implemented the visions that Kennedy laid out. Perhaps the most important lesson of this book is for future presidents to consider that, if they push for an unpopular war, their other accomplishments will be forever ignored by history.

-- Jesse Gordon, OnTheIssues editor-in-chief, November 2012

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Civil Rights
    Spearheaded passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 & 1960.
Corporations
    Republican Party is single interest: business.
    1954: Increase penalties for anti-trust violations.
Education
    1920s: Star debater at Texas State Teachers College.
    Led fight for aid-to-education legislation in 1958 and 1960.
    1930: Taught public speaking at Houston high school.
Environment
    Developing lower Colorado River released men from drudgery.
Families & Children
    1935: Texas Administrator of National Youth Administration.
Foreign Policy
    1948 Senate race: Peace-Preparedness-Progress.
    1954 Formosa Resolution: line against Communist aggression.
Free Trade
    1950s: Urged extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act.
Government Reform
    There is always a national answer to each national problem.
    1953: Ended seniority-based Senate committee assignments.
Homeland Security
    Government cannot accept stalemate with Communism.
    1940: Started Corpus Christi air base anticipating WWII.
    Navy waste: "It is no longer a crime to cut red tape".
    1949: Pushed adequate preparedness for Cold War.
    Stockpile essential strategic materials.
Jobs
    1937: Ran for House on labor rights, against corporations.
    Eliminate abuses of power by organized labor.
Principles & Values
    I am a free man, an American, a Senator, and then a Democrat.
    1941: Lost in Senate run; 1960: lost in presidential run.
    Long line of elected officials on both sides of family.
    People reject extremism, either on the right or the left.
    1954: Led Senate with "unity-moderation-cooperation".
Technology
    1957: Pushed UN for international cooperation on Space Age.
    Rural Electrification raised farmers' incomes.
War & Peace
    1950: Defending South Korea gives noble meaning to freedom.
    1945: Keep military strong to fulfill moral obligation.


The above quotations are from The Lyndon Johnson Story
by Booth Mooney. Error processing SSI file

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