Lyndon Johnson: An American Life
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Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most prominent politicians in 20th-century American history. Born in Stonewall, Texas in 1908, Johnson grew interested in politics very early in his life, and Franklin Roosevelt became his role model. Initially a member of the United States House of Representatives, LBJ would be best known as the Senate majority leader over the course of the 1950s. He is considered the most effective Senate majority leaders in all of American history. In 1960, Johnson would be asked by the Kennedy campaign to join the Democratic ticket. Following the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, Lyndon Johnson became the 36th President of the United States. He was arguably the best prepared of any president to take the oval office. LBJ’s War on Poverty and Great Society programs also reflected his dedication to the American people. Unfortunately, the Vietnam War would prove disastrous for his presidency and political career. Historians view Lyndon Johnson as a successful, but controversial politician in the present day.
Required Reading: Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin. St. Martin’s Griffin, 1991. ISBN: 0312060270
Tim Crain is the director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education and an assistant professor of history at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. He received a PhD in modern Europe and modern Jewish history at Arizona State University after receiving a BA and MA from Marquette University. His areas of specialization include modern Jewish history, comparative religious history, modern Europe and the modern Middle East. Crain taught history for 15 years at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has received numerous distinguished teaching awards from the University of Wisconsin System and Marquette University. He has instructed over 20 seminars of Bjorklunden, and Tim and his family always look forward to their time there each summer.