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Summer Reading Book

2008-2009 Common Experience

Lyndon B. Johnson
and the Transformation of American Politics

by John L. Bullion

This newest edition to the Library of American Biography Series by John L. Bullion introduces students to the dynamic and turbulent life and legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Johnson navigated the country through some of the most challenging issues of the 20th century.  This volume offers a close look at not only how Johnson handled the issues of civil rights, segregation, Vietnam, and an unruly economy, but also demonstrates how these same issues and events wore away Johnson’s once robust idealism.

The titles in the Library of American Biography Series make ideal supplements for American History Survey courses or other courses in American history where figures in history are explored. Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each interpretative biography in this series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. At the same time, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.

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LBJ and the Transformation of American Politics


  • Editor’s Preface
  • Chapter 1:  Author's Preface
  • Chapter 2: Introduction
  • Chapter 3: A Steam Engine in Pants, 1909-1937
  • Chapter 4:  The Best Congressman that Ever Was, 1937-1941
  • Chapter 5: Trying to Climb a Pole, 1941-1948
  • Chapter 6: The Right Place, 1948-1957
  • Chapter 7: The Riverboat Gambler, 1957-July 1960
  • Chapter 8:  Second Place, 1960-1963
  • Chapter 9:  Free At Last, November 1963-June 1964
  • Chapter 10: Walking the Tightrope, July--November 1964
  • Chapter 11: Living in the Middle of It, December 1964-April 1965
  • Chapter 12: Looking for Light, April-September, 1965
  • Chapter 13: Impatient People, Fall 1965-December 1966
  • Chapter 14: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, 1967
  • Chapter 15: Hell Sucks, January-March 1968
  • Chapter 16: “This. . .Hard Time,”: April 1968-January 1969
  • Chapter 17: The Spent Golden Coin, 1969-1973
  • Study and Discussion/Questions
  • A Note of the Sources
  • Index

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  • A new comprehensive approach.  Lyndon B. Johnson and the Transformation of American Politics weaves together Johnson’s foreign, domestic, economic, and political challenges and opportunities to show their interconnectedness.
  • Comprehensive coverage of Johnson and segregationism. This book traces the development of Johnson’s thoughts on racial issues throughout his career, situating them in the context of his understanding of Southern politics and the potential for a white backlash.
  • Johnson's inheritance from Kennedy.  The book outlines Johnson’s many doubts about Vietnam, and shows the powerful consensus to contain communism during the Cold War. 
  • Role of religion in Johnson’s life.  Calling attention to recent insights into the role of religion in shaping Johnson’s approach to government, the text illuminates the importance of his religious upbringing.  It also allows the reader to see how Johnson used religion and church leaders to sell civil rights legislation to white Southerners.
  • A preface by series editor Mark Carnes illustrates the importance of this new biography.
  • Study and Discussion Questions at the end of the book help students check their reading and comprehension. These questions can also be used to facilitate discussions in the classroom or student study groups.

— Information above adapted from Pearson Education website summary

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Related Links

Summer Reading Program

2008-2009 Common Experience theme

LBJ resources

Overview Common Experience at Texas State

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