LBJ: Architect of American Ambition

LBJ: Architect of American Ambition
By Randall B. Woods

Review by R. Alan Clanton
Thursday Review Editor

LBJ: Architect of American Ambition book cover


History professor and editor Woods is also the author of the acclaimed Fulbright: A Biography, which won numerous awards in the late 1990s. In LBJ, Woods gives us a close look at Lyndon Johnson’s skillful rise to power—from his early days as an ambitious young Congressman to his rise to being the single most powerful man in the U.S. Senate. Wood illuminates Johnson’s selection as John F. Kennedy’s running mate in 1960, and then shows us a man willing to accumulate the weight of the world after Kennedy’s death in 1963; a President who seeks to advance a far more comprehensive liberal agenda than his predecessor was willing to consider. Woods shows us a President attempting, against the odds, to balance the impervious, inescapable weight of the Vietnam War while also advancing the varied progressive causes of civil rights, urban renewal and expanding social services, a man who, for all his powers of persuasion, ultimately failed to satisfy the grander liberal impulse. The book includes 100 pages of notes and references. (The Free Press, New York)

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