Lyndon Baines Johnson: The Formative Years. By William C.
Pool, Emmie Craddock, and David E. Conrad. San Marcos
(Southwest Texas State College Press), 1965. Pp. 185. Illus-
trations, maps, index. $5.25.
The writing of a contemporary biography of a President of the
United States is almost insurmountably difficult. Any person who
undertakes such a task has developed an interest in his subject
which makes him partisan in one extreme or the other. Dynamic
personalities are seldom examined in an objective manner; they
evoke blind love and vicious hate rather than rational analysis
These general difficulties are more acute than usual for a biog-
rapher of Lyndon Baines Johnson. His mind, his energy, his
magnetism defy ordinary expression. An attitude of respect and
admiration for the President is expressed in Harry Provence's
Lyndon B. Johnson and the opposite extreme of mood is ex-
pressed in J. Evetts Haley's A Texan Looks at Lyndon. Even
those of us who have called him "friend" for more than thirty
years are sometimes amazed by his pungent thought, his under-
standing of people, his comprehension of political situations.
In view of these perplexities, therefore, the three authors of
this book have made a sensible decision in limiting their ap-
proach to "the formative years" of the President's experience.
Instead of a sketchy biography of his entire life, this is a thor-
ough assessment of the environmental factors in the youth of
Lyndon B. Johnson. Most of this material will be new to readers.
Records have been searched with patient care. For the most
part, facts have been assembled in a scholarly manner. Numerous
interviews with contemporary students, professors, and acquaint-
ances are recorded; and while information from such sources is
not unfailingly accurate, history is will served by their recording,
for memories involving famous people are distorted with each
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed January 27, 2015.