American Notes: L.B.J. I

What manner of men govern us? Voters choose only promises and premonitions, biographers provide conscientious rationales on the basis of what is vouchsafed them by the reticent subject or the partially informed intimate. But Lyndon Baines Johnson, in his TV interlocution with Walter Cronkite, gave as full a rendition as immediate history is apt to hear.

Like all self-accounting, it is suspect. Johnson was always a man whose oratory could bring tears to his own eyes. But in the revealing program he afforded glimpses of truth—and terror—beneath the vanity and the bathos. There were the flecks of the midnight fear...

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