In his steps : Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy mystique /
by Paul R. Henggeler.
Chicago : I.R. Dee, 1991.
vii, 325 p. ; 24 cm.
0929587502 :
More Details
Chicago : I.R. Dee, 1991.
0929587502 :
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-11:
Henggeler (Bowling Green) offers a lucid, engaging, and well-documented account of how the later stages of Lyndon Johnson's public career were shaped by his political ties to John and Robert Kennedy. Using both original and secondary sources, the author delineates the origins of Johnson's ambivalent attitude toward JFK and demonstrates how LBJ's behavior and policy choices as president were profoundly influenced by the style, symbolism, and rhetoric that distinguished the Kennedy presidency. In what is the most significant and fascinating part of this book, Henggeler elaborates on and assesses the impact of LBJ's tempestuous political relationship with Robert Kennedy. The author shows how Johnson, by enlisting the Kennedy "mystique" to advance his own substantive policy goals, bolstered RFK's challenge to his presidency. Although a less comprehensive treatment of Johnson's career than either Doris Kearns's Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (CH, Oct'76) or Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (CH, Apr'83) and Means of Ascent, (CH, Oct'90), this work provides an informed discussion of a generally neglected aspect of the Johnson presidency. Highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate libraries.-G. L. Malecha, Weber State College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1991-02-01:
Written by an assistant professor of history at Bowling Green State University in Kentucky, this is an exceptionally revealing portrait of Lyndon Johnson in the context of his relationships with John and Robert Kennedy. Henggeler describes how Johnson, in his role as Senate majority leader, worked comfortably with the junior senator from Massachusetts, then served loyally as JFK's vice-president even though he was shunned politically and socially--and openly despised by attorney general Robert Kennedy. After JFK's death in 1963, Johnson was haunted by widespread charges that he was a usurper and somehow responsible for the assassination, and was at the same time threatened by the growing power and popularity of Robert Kennedy, the ``heir apparent.'' According to Henggeler, Johnson ``felt curiously cheated'' by RFK's assassination in 1968 and once again had to deal with rumors that he was implicated. In sharp contrast to Robert Caro's reductive portrait of Johnson as power-mad ogre, Henggeler sympathetically explores the causes of Johnson's insecurities and search for a self-image as he tried unsuccessfully to distance himself from the Kennedy mystique. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review Quotes
An exceptionally revealing portrait.
Impressively thorough...a sadly useful reminder of the Democratic Party's own War of the Roses in the 1960s.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, January 1991
Publishers Weekly, February 1991
Choice, November 1991
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Unpaid Annotation
An intimate personal and political history of Lyndon JohnsonUs frustration with the Kennedy mystique, based on exhaustive new research. RSolidly researched, well written, carefully analyzed...a major contribution to recent American political history.SQThomas C. Reeves, Journal of American History.
Long Description
An intimate personal and political history of Lyndon Johnson's frustration with the Kennedy mystique, based on exhaustive new research. Solidly researched, well written, carefully analyzed...a major contribution to recent American political history. --Thomas C. Reeves, Journal of American History
Long Description
When Lyndon Johnson succeeded to the presidency amidst national tragedy, he took on not only the burdens of the office but the weight of the Kennedy myth ”a blend of style, youth, romance, and political charm. Yet Johnson was John Kennedy's very opposite in upbringing, manner, and temperament. Big, boisterous, intimidating, and expressive, he grew up in a land of dirt roads, bare feet, outhouses, and oil lamps while Kennedy was being raised in a sophisticated urban setting of wealth and status. In the White House, Johnson was to be haunted by the myth of Camelot. In this intimate personal and political history based on exhaustive new research, Paul Henggeler chronicles Johnson's frustrating struggle with John and Robert Kennedy. LBJ saw in them both opportunities and threats. Towards John he felt affection and respect, and often drew upon the Kennedy legacy in his conduct of the presidency. But he feared Robert as the living embodiment of that legacy and as a man determined to dethrone him. Drawing upon thousands of fresh documents as well as published sources, Mr. Henggeler has constructed a fascinating and revealing account of personalities and politics which produced dramatic upheaval at the highest levels of government.

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