April 8, 1987 |
"Mah fellow Americans." How easy it is--and was--to caricature Lyndon Baines Johnson, whose presidency was sandwiched by the tragedies of Dallas and Vietnam. Show him rough and crude and elephant-eared and Texas and manipulative and intimidating and predatory, peering through his eyeglasses at a squirming, about-to-be-scrunched political victim. American Presidents are made for exaggeration because their lives and burdens--and consequently faults--are already larger than life.
July 14, 1989 |
It is only 25 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson first declared his hopes and plans for a Great Society in America, but his words now sound as distant and strange as echoes from another epoch in another world. So remote do those times seem to the present era of budget restraints and hands-off government that the anniversary of Johnson's speech launching the Great Society--May 22, 1964, at the University of Michigan--passed entirely without notice.
November 7, 2001 |
More than 285 actors in dark suits and thin ties stood in the crisp-looking White House of the 1960s as director John Frankenheimer demanded louder applause for Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, played by a bespectacled Alec Baldwin. There is something eerie, though, on the set of HBO's "Path to War," which explores the agonizing decisions reached by Lyndon B. Johnson about the Vietnam conflict.
September 27, 1998 |
Amid the utmost secrecy, top aides of President Lyndon B. Johnson agonized during the early months of 1964 over a single, preoccupying national security issue: Should the United States bomb China to stop it from becoming a nuclear power? "I'm for this," scrawled Johnson's national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, on one memo about a possible preemptive strike that might cripple Chinese nuclear installations. The Joint Chiefs of Staff studied options for military action, including the use of U.
September 9, 1990 |
The historian-as-flatterer staked out a point of view on a bright Maine morning. David Valdez slowly twisted his camera's lens, focusing on the President. He saw every tick, every emotion yet recorded a selective moment. On this warm summer day, when George Bush was managing a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East--and his vacation--Valdez, the President's personal photographer, faithfully trailed after him.
November 21, 2002 |
Robert Caro on Wednesday won the National Book Award for "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson," his third book on the life of the late president. Caro, who is working on a fourth and his intended last book on Johnson, said in a statement read at the National Book Foundation award ceremony here that people often ask if he gets bored spending so much time on one person. "I consider each of my four books studies on political power, how it is acquired and how it is used," he said.
August 25, 1992 |
In 1965, the year of the Watts riot, Lyndon Baines Johnson saved my life. He was 53 and living in the White House. I was 16, barely hanging on in Boston's toughest white working-class neighborhood. We never met, and I can't imagine what would have happened if we had. People in the "nabe" hated his guts. Mockingly, they called him a "you all," the lowest thing they could think of. He talked weird--unlike us, whose dialect was unintelligible to all but those within a few miles of home.
February 16, 1997 |
It was June 23, 1964, and President Johnson was given sharply differing opinions on the disappearance of three young civil rights workers in Mississippi, according to taped telephone conversations released by Johnson's presidential library in Austin. Before the day was over, the trio's burning car had been found. Their bodies were found 40 days later. Atty. Gen. Robert F.
September 14, 1988 |
Richard N. Goodwin has grown bored with the questions about why he wrote such mean things about Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I'm not saying anything mean about Johnson," Goodwin said in an interview in his living room here. His voice was less testy than resigned; this was not the first time he had been asked about his iconoclasm, and he was not the first person to write that Johnson was difficult or that he sometimes received guests while seated on the toilet.
March 31, 1988 |
The President took a folded sheet of paper from his coat pocket, and to a small group of family members and house guests assembled for luncheon on the second floor of the White House, he read the stunning final paragraph of a speech he was scheduled to deliver on national television that evening. It was March 31, 1968--20 years ago today.