Reviews for Indomitable Will : LBJ in the Presidency

Library Journal Reviews 2012 August #1

Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, Austin, TX, presents a highly intimate portrait of our 36th President. Instead of a linear, chronological biography, Updegrove organizes the work around chapters on the famous Johnson treatment; the Kennedy assassination; Johnson's efforts to continue the Kennedy legacy; his rise to the presidency; Johnson's famous blunt, critical style; and his great tragedy, the Vietnam War. Similar in approach to Merle Miller's 1980 Lyndon: An Oral Biography, this book takes advantage of many newly released original speeches; newspaper accounts; secretly taped oval office meetings, conversations, and telephone calls; and interviews, as well as material from other histories and biographies. Interspersed throughout these remarks are numerous LBJ anecdotes, including some in his actual voice. Most of the interviews were conducted by others during Johnson's lifetime, and the comments of these selected key personalities who knew, lived with, or worked with Johnson are presented by different readers emulating the selected person's voice. VERDICT Unfortunately, the use of alternate voices miserably fails, while Johnson's own words from his speeches, meetings, and telephone conversations add sparkle. ["General readers wanting an introductory overview filled with anecdotes and reminiscences will like this, as may some scholars, but the latter will chiefly want Robert Caro's The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, covering LBJ from 1960 to 1964," read the review of the Crown hc, LJ 4/1/12.--Ed.]--Dale Farris, Groves, TX

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