LYNDON JOHNSON often likens his own problems to Lincoln's, and indeed the 16th and the 36th Presidents have many in common: a long, frustrating war, a divided homefront, and national doubts about presidential leadership. There is one even more striking similarity: though the North was vastly superior to the South in nearly everything that should have brought early victory, four years were required to bring about Lee's sur render at Appomattox. However, unlike Lincoln, who tested—and found wanting—more than half a dozen generals before he found a winner in Grant, Lyndon Johnson has yet to name his second field commander.

Though major...

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