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The book of LBJ

The new instalment of an immense biography records how Lyndon Johnson survived political humiliation to become a president who shaped modern America

By Sam Tanenhaus   May 2012

Lyndon B Johnson campaigning in 1964, to retain the office he assumed after the assassination of John F Kennedy

American publishers will release more than 300,000 books this year (throw in all manner of web-generated and electronic items, including Kindle one-offs and the like, and the number will be multiplied by at least ten), but the “industry” clings to hoary articles of faith. One such is that there are only two publishing seasons, spring and autumn, and that each yields at most a handful of reliably “big” books, almost always written by “brand-name” authors.

This season the biggest, easily, is…

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