LBJ, IRT, USA, LSD* or All I need to know about LBJ I learned from bloggers
For some unfathomable reason, I have developed an obession with Lyndon B. Johnson.
It started innocently enough. I was reading Nelson DeMille's Up Country, which, in part, deals with the Vietnam War. As always happens when I read a book with some factual base, I become obsessed with research. So I began reading about the Vietnam War, digging up old articles, taking books out of the library and generally not watching Apocalypse Now.
My Vietnam War research came in handy when people start comparing Iraq to that war. At least I was able to compare and contrast with the confidence gained from my new knowledge (I had studied the Vietnam War before, but at the time - many, many years ago, during my No Nukes phase - I was a bleeding heart liberal and studied the war through the blood-colored glasses of propaganda).
So, inevitably, my Vietnam War obessesion led me to wanting to delve into the life and times of LBJ. As luck would have it, Path to War was available on demand (on my digital cable box), so I watched that - twice- and mentioned it to my father during Thanksgiving dinner, who then gave me a book he had coincidentally just finished; Means of Ascent. I finished the book yesterday, and it pretty much confirmed my view that LBJ was an arrogant bastard. While his domestic policies were admirable - he did a lot for racial equality, even though I believe it was grudgingly done - everything else about him was false. His presidency was filled with lies and deception.
The only thing I remember about Lyndon Johnson was his presidential funeral. I vaguely remember watching television and seeing some kind of procession go by the White House. I was seven when he left office, too young to have cared about world and domestic affairs. I was eleven when he died, still too young for him to have mattered much to me.
I want to know more. But I want to hear it from people, not books. That means you. I want to know everything about him and his presidency and his wartime policies and strategy. Did you like him? Did you hate him? What did he bring to Americans? What did he take away? Am I wrong to come away with a feeling that he was a major hardass, a liar, a phony and a creep?
If you could recommend any further reading on LBJ, I would appreciate it. (My library seems to stock books that are older than the Pope, and the reference librarian is nothing more than an old man with a computer database). I'd like to read books that show different sides of LBJ, from different points of view. Mostly, though, I want to know what you all think of the man. Hopefully, I will get opinions from all sides of the political spectrum.
Thank you in advance for indulging my research-specific obsessive-compulsiveness.
*[see here for reference]