The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Book Reviews

his career in Congress, he also advanced the interests of powerful Texas busi-
nesses. For Caro, this record was a repudiation of the political idealism of John-
son's father, an indication of Johnson's willingness to sacrifice political principle
for political gain and of the fraudulence of his liberal professions. Dallek, by
contrast, perceives a more complex array of forces shaping Johnson's political
performance. Johnson was certainly ambitious for both political success and
wealth, but he was also guided by a genuine sympathy for the underprivileged,
including Southern blacks; by a faith in the power of the federal government not
only to handle national and international problems, but also to improve eco-
nomic and social conditions in the South; and by an astute understanding of
what was politically possible at any particular time. Dallek certainly acknowl-
edges and explores Johnson's flaws as a politician and a person, but he avoids
Caro's superficial characterization of Johnson as a man without integrity or polit-
ical conviction.
This volume follows Johnson's career through his election to the vice-presi-
dency in 1960. Although Johnson's most important actions, including his ascen-
sion to the presidency, his conduct of the war in Vietnam, and his fight for civil
rights legislation in the 196os, remain to be examined in a forthcoming volume,
the scope and depth of Dallek's analysis is impressive. This book not only refutes
much of Caro's myth-making, it also provides a fair-minded, persuasive portrayal
of one of the most important and controversial figures in twentieth-century
American politics.
University of Texas at Arlington EVAN ANDERS
In His Steps: Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy Mystique. By Paul R. Henggeler
(Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1991. Pp. 325. Acknowledgments, introduction, epi-
logue, notes, notes on sources, index. $27.50.)
The political relationships between Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and
Robert F. Kennedy were always difficult and often explosive. Paul R. Henggeler
has presented a well-researched and thoughtful interpretation of Johnson's ef-
forts to capitalize on and to escape the "Kennedy mystique" that did so much to
shape his presidency. Henggeler has immersed himself in the primary sources at
the Kennedy and Johnson libraries, and his assessment of Johnson's perfor-
mance as John Kennedy's heir and Robert Kennedy's nemesis will command re-
spect.
In two respects, however, the book does not entirely meet the need for a dis-
passionate account of its subject. On the issue of sources, Henggeler is properly
suspicious of Johnson and the men around him when they put down on paper
their feelings about the Kennedys. Skepticism recedes, however, when it is a mat-
ter of the Kennedy people rendering judgment on Johnson. Similarly, the au-
thor questions Johnson's own interpretations of his motives in such episodes as
the decision to accept the vice presidency in 1960, the dumping of Robert
Kennedy from the cabinet in 1964, and his rivalry with the New York senator be-
tween 1965 and 1968. When it is a matter of the Kennedys, however, Henggeler

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed May 29, 2015.