In His Steps: Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy Mystique

Paul R. Henggeler, Author Ivan R. Dee Publisher $27.5 (336p) ISBN 978-0-929587-50-9
Written by an assistant professor of history at Bowling Green State University in Kentucky, this is an exceptionally revealing portrait of Lyndon Johnson in the context of his relationships with John and Robert Kennedy. Henggeler describes how Johnson, in his role as Senate majority leader, worked comfortably with the junior senator from Massachusetts, then served loyally as JFK's vice-president even though he was shunned politically and socially--and openly despised by attorney general Robert Kennedy. After JFK's death in 1963, Johnson was haunted by widespread charges that he was a usurper and somehow responsible for the assassination, and was at the same time threatened by the growing power and popularity of Robert Kennedy, the ``heir apparent.'' According to Henggeler, Johnson ``felt curiously cheated'' by RFK's assassination in 1968 and once again had to deal with rumors that he was implicated. In sharp contrast to Robert Caro's reductive portrait of Johnson as power-mad ogre, Henggeler sympathetically explores the causes of Johnson's insecurities and search for a self-image as he tried unsuccessfully to distance himself from the Kennedy mystique. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-1-56663-716-9
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