The American Dream of Lyndon B. Johnson
“Lyndon Johnson and therefore the American Dream” by Doris Kearns Goodwin is regarding the lifetime of Lyndon B. Johnson. Doris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for No Ordinary Time and political commentator who wrote about William Taft and the Golden Age of journalism, The Bully pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, Teams of Rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln. Understanding the author’s perspective in writing is pivotal. Goodwin met President Johnson in the White House in nineteen sixty-seven, where she sustained a professional relationship with Lyndon B. Johnson until he passed in nineteen seventy-three. Both Richard and Doris Goodwin worked in the administration for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Goodwin maintained a long friendship with Johnson and tries to portray the essence of his character. This biography reveals to one that Lyndon B. Johnson seemingly anticipated he would be remembered by his personal and bureaucratic legacy. Goodwin describes the nature of her relationship with Lyndon B. Johnson and provides a review of her interpretations and psychoanalysis of his character. Readers likely to find Goodwins efforts to get inside Lyndon B. Johnson’s mind are too incessant and pervasive. While she does expose his obvious strengths and weakness. Goodwin does not exhibit the same tendency for dissecting and analyzing his presidency. Just as the author’s focus on Johnson’s facade surpasses his politics, much of his fascinating early life receives minimal attention. Which Lyndon Baines Johnson grew up, worked as an instructor and so eventually found himself within the middle of a protracted legislature career takes Goodwin but one hundred pages to explore. Overall, Doris Kearn Goodwin’s “Lyndon Johnson and the American dream” capably fills an important niche by revealing the author’s perspective on her interactions with a complex and often conflicted politician. Despite its inherent flaws as a life story, this is often singular and infrequently fascination book that adds import and texture to portray Lyndon Baines Johnson provided by the foremost up to date accounts of his life and character. Lyndon Johnson tried to influence and eventually pleaded with twenty-five-year-old Doris Kearns to assist him to write his memoirs. During the last months of his Presidency, once he was, therefore, unlikeable by many folks that he seldom left the White House, he was convinced that his last likelihood would be with the historians. He wasn’t terribly sanguine regarding however the historians would treat him, however, he felt that he had to urge his aspect of the story out.
Though he had planned to write three volumes, his efforts resulted in only one book, The Vantage Point: Perspective on the Presidency. It was not successful, in spite of Kearns’s efforts to urge him to reveal himself, for the most part as a result of, while LBJ was one of the greatest of storytellers, he was ineffective and artificial when dealing with unknown audiences. Kearns was ne’er asked to be a politician author, however, Johnson should have illustrious that in some unspecified time in the future she would write a book regarding him. Long when he had lost interest in his own memoirs he continuing to carry long, introspective talks together with her. He said he revealed his innermost thoughts to her because she reminded him of his dead mother. One suspects, however, that he had chosen this Harvard intellectual because the instrument by that he may convey his story to the historians. She would be accepted by the thinkers he could not reach, and she could write the book he could not produce. It may be that he accomplished that even his vaunted strength couldn’t entirely overcome her skilled integrity which her book would contain criticism yet as praise and thus be more believable. Whatever his motivations, LBJ’s conversations with Doris Kearns have resulted in the most significant book yet written about the Johnson years. Since the first material for the book springs from the notes Kearns took throughout her conversations with Johnson, it dwells additional on his thoughts and motivations than on the details of his career. He told her of his childhood, his dreams and his fears, so Kearns has attempted to provide a psychological interpretation of their impact on his personality and ambitions. One gets the impression that the author isn’t terribly comfy in her role as a psychiatrist.
As a result, these efforts are the smallest amount of convincing elements of the story. The fact that President Lyndon Johnson was ne’er seriously affected by the reality whereas telling a story casts more doubt on the validity of the info on that the analysis is predicated. Kearns is way additional sure-footed once she attracts on her skilled background in analyzing the dynamics of the governmental establishments during which Johnson operated. In tracing his political career from congressional secretary through Director of the Texas National Youth Administration, member of the House of Representatives, Senator, Vice-President and finally President, the author uses Johnson as a case study let’s say the characteristics of every position and to demonstrate however his skills and temperament matched or clashed with the institutional surroundings. By use of this device, Kearns is ready to expand this chronicle into an editorial on the interaction of leadership, institutional momentum, and therefore the forces of history. She summarizes these observations in an “Author’s Postscript,” which in many ways is the most fascinating part of her book. Psychologically, Johnson’s temperament and drives could are fashioned within the tension between his father and mother. Rebekah Johnson was a melancholy girl World Health Organization wanted to complete associate degree sad wedding and a father whose bright prospects were ne’er accomplished and whose death destroyed her ambitions of being a good author by driving her son to hunt outstanding intellectual and cultural achievements. She wanted to govern him by granting or withholding her love in response to his behavior.
As a result, he frequently wanted to perform smart deeds and expected love reciprocally. This found its highest expression in his “Great Society” programs, and his greatest disappointment resulted when the American people failed to express their love for him after he had given them so much. His mother’s demands for intellectual and cultural accomplishment were balanced by a father World Health Organization thought-about such pursuits unmanly. Sam Ealy Johnson was a crude, hard-drinking native politician. Much of Lyndon’s commonness and interest in politics is derived from the model his father provided. According to Kearns, the couple between his mother, who loved to discuss the “higher things,” and a father whose idea of pleasure was to sit up half the night with his friends drinking brew and telling stories, created a great tension which prompted Johnson to seek to control his environment. Control of one’s surroundings needs power, and his pursuit of power encompassed a wider and wider world as he moved up the political ladder. Every human desire some measure of control over himself, his circumstances, his lifestyle, his goals, and his future. Without such management, an individual feels helplessness and in despair, becoming dysfunctional. The issue appears to be in the understanding of the limits of control and in using reasonable rationality in one’s pursuit of it. Goodwin traces the theme of power through management throughout this work, beginning with Johnson’s utter lack of control over self as a young child to his zenith at the height of his Senate career through the primary years of his presidency, and ultimately to the inevitable self-destruction it wrought. During his childhood, Johnson’s oldsters regularly fought for management over him. It was not until he struck out on his own by going for California that he began to feel some power over self.
What Doris Kearns Goodwin did well here is she digs deep into LBJ’s temperament. She knew him professionally, operating in his White House, and quotes extensively from his direct conversations along with her. He needed her help in writing his memoirs, a project that ne’er got off the bottom. She pinpoints his skillsets, what he is sensible at and deficient at, and the way these skillsets facilitate or hamper him in numerous institutional settings. She explains, however, his talent in one-on-one interactions and his ability to control and compel people facilitate him to attain power and attain things within the Senate. LBJ’s predilection for secret dealmaking doesn’t hamper him within the Senate. But within the presidency, a distinct form of leadership is named for. A president’s constituents are several and widely-varying groups; they’re going on the far side the 100 Senators that a Senate legislator has got to please and persuade. Where the book falls short in explaining personality and character is important in biography, but Goodwin goes overboard, using psychoanalytic theory in easy-to-understand language for the masses to explain nearly everything. As we know, viewing all a person does through the prism of his relationship with his parents is outmoded. There’s nothing that dates a book quite references to a psychoanalyst, Tibeto-Burman language Horney, and Erik Erikson. There’s not enough delving into LBJ’s accomplishments in the areas of civil rights and the Great Society, particularly the latter. Martin Luther King, Jr. gets two lines within the index, five mentions within the book. What did President think about MLK and vice versa? How did these two leaders interact? Reading this book, we have no idea. There’s also the surprisingly little exploration of LBJ’s personal and political interactions with JFK. Medicare, that nowadays we predict mutually of LBJ’s signature achievements, and something that altered the American landscape forever, gets two superficial mentions. Yet ‘Psychoanalytic insights into’ numerous things comprise forty-two lines within the index. LBJ’s dream ‘of being caged’ is mentioned on three completely different pages.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below