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Young respects Patman for his convictions, but she is occasionally very critical of
her subject. She notes that while he recorded many achievements (such as the
bonus bill during Franklin Roosevelt's term and, after finally receiving the chair-
manship of the House Banking and Currency Committee, the Bank Holding
Company Act of 1970), he failed more often that he succeeded. Patman was not a
coalition builder and his caustic rhetorical style, ubiquitous calls for investigations,
and his penchant for describing people and issues in good-versus-evil terms simply
turned off too many colleagues for him to be as effective as he could have been. In
addition, Young also questions the degree to which Patman actually understood
the various nuances of the economic system that he so often attacked.
Though readers might disagree with one of the author's conclusions that
Patman should be elevated into a triumvirate of great Texas legislators that
includes Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn (p. 303), he was certainly a force in
Congress that could not be ignored. I recommend this book to anyone interest-
ed in learning about Wright Patman, congressional influences on national eco-
nomic policy, as well as Wal-Mart detractors looking for a champion in history.
Texas A&M University KEITHJ. VOLANTO
In the Boat with LBJ. By John L. Bullion. (Plano: Republic of Texas Press, 2001.
Pp. viii+367. Prelude, coda, index. ISBN 1-55622-880-5. $21.95, paper.)
John Bullion, a professor of history at the University of Missouri, has written a
memoir about his and his family's relationship with President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Lyndon Johnson inspired all kinds of reactions from people. One can see this
spectrum among the Bullion family members. For instance, Waddy Bullion, the
author's father, was one of LBJ's tax advisors. While he did not charge Johnson
anything for his advice, his law firm certainly enjoyed the benefits of being
known as a firm that did business with LBJ. Meanwhile, Bullion's mother had a
strong dislike for LBJ. She took an understated pride in having turned down
LBJ's overtures to help answer constituent mail on the weekends (again without
pay) during the World War II years.
The fact that LBJ could be a demanding boss has been well documented.
Bullion's memoir portrays working for Johnson as being "in the boat" (thus the
title of the book); Bullion's father recalls that with LBJ, one had better pull his
weight, with no excuses, or risk being kicked off the boat. John Bullion writes,
"Left unsaid was his [Waddy Bullion's] obvious feeling that the captain
[Johnson] couldn't care less whether the banished sank, swam, or strolled to
shore" (p. 66).
Because this is a memoir, not a biography, we see parts of LBJ not really
explored elsewhere, such as the origins of the LBJ Ranch (and some of Bullion's
experiences there with the Johnsons), or the "blind trust" that managed
Johnson's business affairs during his White House years.
Those intrigued by Johnson, the man, will find Bullion's book an interesting
and entertaining read. The book certainly offers Bullion's personal experiences
with LBJ and insights into how the man lived his life.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed July 31, 2014.