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Lady Bird Johnson : an oral history
Michael L. Gillette
Adult Nonfiction E848.J64 G55 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Gillette, former director of the LBJ Library's oral history program, has selected and edited these interviews, but the book belongs to Lady Bird Johnson. It captures her celebrated warmth, independence, pride in her own and her husband's achievements, and her ability to stand back and honestly assess her own and his motives, successes, and failures. The oral histories cover the first lady's life from her birth in 1912 through Johnson's presidency, thus throwing light on a more than half a century of American history. Just about every politically significant figure on the national stage turns up here, each caught (almost always generously) by Mrs. Johnson's discerning eye. Anyone interested in LBJ's election to Congress and his leadership of the Senate, Texas politics, the Johnsons's radio station, the crisis of Kennedy's assassination, and the Vietnam War will find Mrs. Johnson's reflections, from intimate knowledge, informative, delightful, and often riveting. Gillette himself deftly conducted most of the oral histories from which he draws; all have long been open to researchers and widely used (by such as LBJ biographer Robert Caro). Nevertheless, this volume, likely to be catnip to both fans and detractors of the Johnsons, makes available portions of Lady Bird's invaluable and incisive views otherwise inaccessible to the general reader. Photos. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In this densely packed oral history, Gillette (former director, oral history program, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum) curates 18 years' worth of interviews that he and colleagues undertook with the first lady. She candidly discussed her life from her early years, through her husband's rise to prominence, and into the Kennedy administration and her time in the White House. This narrative provides much to illuminate readers about Lady Bird as well as her husband's inner circle and early political machinations. The chapters are arranged chronologically, and each begins with a brief introduction by Gillette, followed by the first lady's remembrances in response to brief prompts from the author or his colleagues. The resulting narrative reveals a tireless companion involved in her husband's every political ambition, if not as an actual participant in the decision-making process. With grace and aplomb, Lady Bird reflects on her family's move into the White House as "something like I had walked on stage for a role I never rehearsed." And yet she raised the bar for the role. VERDICT Readers who enjoyed the first lady's 1970 book, A White House Diary, will find this volume highly rewarding, as will memoir and biography buffs, and those interested in rounding out their collections.-Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib., Savannah, GA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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