An intimate retelling of Lyndon B. Johnson’s politics and presidency by one of his closest advisors.
Horace Busby was one of LBJ’s most trusted advisors; their close working and personal relationship spanned twenty years. In The Thirty-First of March he offers an indelible portrait of a president and a presidency at a time of crisis. From the aftereffects of the Kennedy assassination, when Busby was asked by the newly sworn-in president to sit by his bedside during his first troubled nights in office, to the concerns that defined the Great Society—civil rights, the economy, social legislation, housing, and the Vietnam War—Busby not only articulated and refined Johnson's political thinking, he also helped shape the most ambitious, far-reaching legislative agenda since FDR's New Deal.
Here is Johnson the politician, Johnson the schemer, Johnson who advised against JFK’s choice of an open limousine that fateful day in Dallas, and Johnson the father, sickened by the deaths of young men fighting and dying in Vietnam on his orders. The Thirty-first of March is a rare glimpse into the inner sanctum of Johnson's presidency, as seen through the eyes of one of the people who understood him best.
May well be the best and most honest book we have about LBJ.
— Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post[Busby] was one of the smartest analyzers of politics and people I ever met.
— Robert A. Caro[The Thirty-First of March] will help future biographers, historians, and students of American history by showing the human side of one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating political figures.
— Carl P. Leubsdorf, Dallas Morning NewsYou might want to read, or re-read, the memoir of his speechwriter, first published in 2005 and now re-issued in paperback. . . [The Thirty-first of March is] a work of significant value.
— The New York Sun
- 1. Prologue: The Sunday Shift
- 2. The Beginning of the Day
- 3. The Bomb Thrower
- 4. Snowstorm in Mississippi
- 5. Playing President
- 6. The Keeper of the Flame
- 7. Man Alone
- 8. "The Candidate Has Disappeared"
- 9. Time of Triumph: Austin to Boston, 1960
- 10. The Last Roundup
- 11. A Friday Afternoon in Brussels
- 12. Forebodings
- 13. The President: Poison in the Power
- 14. Afternoon at Gettysburg, 1967
- 15. State of the Union
- 16. A Sunday at the White House
- 17. The Ninth Hour
- 18. The Close
- 19. Convulsion
- 20. "Well, See You Again, Sometime"
- A Note about the Author