“If it wasn’t for Vietnam… Johnson would have been considered one of the greatest presidents, If it wasn’t for Vietnam… Johnson would have been…” It is a refrain that one often hears when discussions about President Johnson are brought up and to a certain extent it has some validity.

President Kennedy sowed the seeds in Vietnam, President Johnson… Far from an expert when it came to foreign affairs… Watched it mature and turn into a deadly virus, and President Nixon, used it for political advantage and sacrificed an additional twenty-six thousand more US lives and hundreds of thousands of innocent Vietnamese lives. How Presidents Johnson and Nixon were able to live with themselves after leaving office is hard for me to fathom.

Doris Keans Goodwin’s, “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream” gives the reader some amazing insights into the mind and psychic of President Johnson and how he was able to rationalize his oversight of a war that was never declared a war by Congress… A Congress who nevertheless contributed mightily to the war effort by supplying almost unlimited funds without asking any questions.

And yes, if it wasn’t for Vietnam, President Johnson might very well have been considered a great President. His legislative achievements in his first three years in office are still to this day unmatched by any other administration, including FDR’s New Deal. President Johnson’s “Great Society” legislation and the speed in which the legislation was made into laws is a feat of astonishing cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of government. The fact that President Johnson was a legend and greatly admired Majority Leader in the Senate for twelve years had a lot to do with it. Sadly, the speed in which these domestic laws were passed left little time, in most cases, to put into place the structure necessary to implement and help the people it was intended to help.

Mrs. Goodwin’s book, like everything else this great historian has written, is a must read. She brings to life one of the most complicated, intelligent, and flawed Presidents of all time. It is an amazing and stunning look at a president who, until this very day, a very small percentage of Americans truly know about, and yet his impact and accomplishments are still felt throughout the many cities and communities that make up our country.51OhKlbbMhL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

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