Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight

Random. Mar. 2021. 560p. ISBN 9780812995909. $32. BIOG
Claudia Alta Johnson (1912–2007), also known as Lady Bird, was the wife of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson. Sweig (LBJ School of Public Affairs, Univ. of Texas at Austin) describes Lady Bird not as the deferential wife of a boisterous politician, but as the key adviser to the leader of the Senate, vice president, and, ultimately, president of the United States. Lyndon Johnson presided over tumultuous years in the mid-1960s with the aftershock of the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War. Sweig successfully illustrates how Lady Bird strongly influenced her husband on topics ranging from the environment to civil rights, all the while remaking the position of First Lady, shaping how we view it today. This portrait of Lady Bird focuses primarily on her time as First Lady, making ample use of her own recorded diaries along with other primary sources to show how she was both essential to Lyndon Johnson’s triumphs and deeply supportive in his failures. Insight is also given to relationships with other First Ladies, such as Jackie Kennedy and Pat Nixon.
VERDICT A perceptive consideration of an often-understudied First Lady and her lasting legacy. For public and academic libraries everywhere.
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