The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 236
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
explains, "he was not an idealist, but he served ideals when it suited
and pleased him" (p. 12). Thus the mold and limitations of a practical
politician were established.
Johnson courted power by associating with influential people. He
wanted to learn how to gain power and to benefit from others' power.
These objectives guided his relationship with President Cecil E. Evans
of Southwest Texas State Teachers College, Richard M. Kleberg, Sam
Rayburn, Richard B. Russell, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After becoming Congressman Kleberg's secretary, Johnson proved
to be a talented, liberal workaholic. Dugger believes that LBJ influ-
enced the conservative Kleberg to support the New Deal; however,
this seems exaggerated. Kleberg was probably influenced more by his
colleagues in the Texas delegation. Later, LBJ became an inspiring
Texas NYA administrator, followed by election to Congress, where he
supported Roosevelt. Meanwhile, he promoted his career by ingratiat-
ing himself with federal officials and influential Texas businessmen,
not only to insure his shaky political base, but to provide personal
financial security. Being practical, Johnson followed a common cus-
tom, which Dugger apparently doesn't realize, of overemphasizing his
war record with the voters. On the other hand, Dugger impressively
traces Johnson's congressional campaigns.
Dugger interprets Senator Johnson as a forerunner of McCarthyism,
but Johnson's activities on other domestic issues need more explana-
tion. The analysis of Johnson's views about foreign affairs could have
been strengthened by greater use of historical scholarship. On this
subject, Dugger's interpretations seem worthy of consideration but
unconvincing. Perhaps an additional volume will reveal more
What about Johnson and his times? Dugger argues that the period
from Roosevelt to Reagan should be called the Johnson era. His book
does not prove that interpretation. During Johnson's formative years,
others exercised greater influence, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.
With the exceptions noted, Dugger's research is impressive and his
footnotes deserve reading. The result is an interesting book, although
it lacks chronological organization with "The Heritage of Action"
seemingly out of place. The reader gains valuable insight into Johnson
as an opportunistic master politician and a deeper understanding of
Texas politics from the late 1930s through the 1950s.
Blinn College at Bryan IRVIN M. MAY, JR.
Vinson & Elkins (Houston)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/272/: accessed March 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.