The American Presidents Series
Lyndon B. Johnson
The towering figure who sought to transform America into a "Great Society" but whose ambitions and presidency collapsed in the tragedy of the Vietnam War
Few figures in American history are as compelling and complex as Lyndon Baines Johnson, who established himself as the master of the U.S. Senate in the 1950s and succeeded John F. Kennedy in the White House after Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963.
Charles Peters, a keen observer of Washington politics for more than five decades, tells the story of Johnson's presidency as the tale of an immensely talented politician driven by ambition and desire. As part of the Kennedy-Johnson administration from 1961 to 1968, Peters knew key players, including Johnson's aides, giving him inside knowledge of the legislative wizardry that led to historic triumphs like the Voting Rights Act and the personal insecurities that led to the tragedy of Vietnam.
Peters's experiences have given him unique insight into the poisonous rivalry between Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy, showing how their misunderstanding of each other exacerbated Johnson's self-doubt and led him into the morass of Vietnam, which crippled his presidency and finally drove this larger-than-life man from the office that was his lifelong ambition.
"This book is a rare gem of cogency and insight by one of America's most original thinkers on politics and government. In one slender volume, Charles Peters captures every relevant part of LBJ's life, breaks important new ground with fresh reporting, and offers peerless historical context. It's hard to believe for a book so short, but this is the finest one-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson yet written."--Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One and The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
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