I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Gary Wills on Robert Caro’s latest volume on LBJ

Wills has a really great review of Caro’s latest that focuses on one of the big themes of the book, the hatred between Johnson and Bobby Kennedy.   One of the interesting things in Caro’s book is that he at least rhetorically rides the fence on two big historical questions:  Did John Kennedy really back almost […]

Katzenbach was dismissive to George Wallace, saying “I’m not interested in this show.”

Nicholas Katzenbach, whose government service (mostly in the Justice Department) encompassed much of the major issues of the 1960s, from civil rights to Viet Nam to the Kennedy assassination.  He famously encountered George Wallace at “the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama, and was in Oxford with the Marshalls to assure James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi.

Folks who have read Robert Caro’s latest installment on Lyndon Johnson would have encountered him.

He was first headed the Office of Legal Counsel (at the request of his friend Byron White), and was later Robert Kennedy’s number two until replacing Kennedy in 1964 when Kennedy ran for Senate.

From his New York Times obituary:

Perhaps his most tense moment in government came on June 11, 1963, when he confronted George C. Wallace in stifling heat on the steps of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Mr. Wallace was the Alabama governor who had trumpeted “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and vowed to block the admission of two black students “at the schoolhouse door.”

Mr. Katzenbach, flanked by a federal marshal and a United States attorney, approached Foster Auditorium, the main building on campus, around 11 a.m. Mr. Wallace was waiting behind a lectern at the top of the stairs, surrounded by a crowd of whites, some armed.

“Stop!” he called out, raising his hand like a traffic cop.

Mr. Katzenbach read a presidential proclamation ordering that the students be admitted and asked the governor to step aside peacefully. Mr. Wallace read a five-minute statement castigating “the central government” for “suppression of rights.”

Towering over Mr. Wallace, Mr. Katzenbach, a 6-foot-2-inch former hockey goalie, was dismissive. “I’m not interested in this show,” he said.

The students were registered about four hours later.  …

Continue reading Katzenbach was dismissive to George Wallace, saying “I’m not interested in this show.”

Quote for the day

On C-Span, talking about his new book, Robert Caro just asked, “Am I going on too long here?”

Lyndon Johnson demands a quid pro quo from the Houston Chronicle

Once Lyndon Johnson became president, a remarkable historical resource became available:  His recording of all his phone calls at the White House and at his ranch.  This allows Robert Caro to describe with an extraordinary vividness events from early December of 1963 on.

One remarkable example of Johnson hardball had to do with his […]

Gary Wills reviews Robert Caro’s latest volume in his Lyndon Johnson biography

Update:  I forgot to add this detail:  Square Books in Oxford has signed copies of Caro’s book, Passage to Power.

It is often odd to read a review while one is in the middle of reading the book under review, and Garry Wills’s review of Robert Caro’s new installment in his never-ending biography of […]

Robert Caro writes about November 22, 1963

Robert Caro’s account (New Yorker subscription required) of the day Kennedy was shot, from Lyndon Johnson’s perspective, is an amazing and vivid piece of writing.  It’s a moment-by-moment account, and both carries the reader along with great intensity and describes the crisis lived through by people in the presidential entourage that day.

It’s in the April […]