Madeleine Duncan Brown's Texas in The Morning is one of the most important personal memoirs in recent history. Brown fills in a huge gap in our understanding of President Lyndon Baines Johnson with whom she had a long-term love affair. Johnson was one of the most complex figures in our history, (along with the enigmatic Richard Nixon and Thomas Jefferson) and the often-severe conflict in his character and actions makes him most difficult to understand. As a writer, I am, therefore, grateful to learn anything at all about his interior or private life. Johnson was brutish but also sensitive, and his accomplishments made him both hated and well thought of.
The darkest possibility of all might be that Johnson participated in the plot to kill President Kennedy, as Madeleine writes and as other evidence seems to indicate-and then helped usher this nation into the 20th Century a little late. His achievements in Civil Rights and other areas were vast. Yet he perhaps instigated, and certainly helped fight, one of the most destructive, costly, and useless wars in our history.
Brown had a son by President Johnson, who by all accounts looked exactly like his father. The young man died all too soon, before his relationship with his father could be publicly accepted.
But there is far more to this beautifully written book. Many of the most famous people in the second half of the American century stride casually through its pages from H.L. Hunt to Sam Rayburn, Clint Murchison, J. Edgar Hoover, John and Robert Kennedy. One of Clint Murchison's closest friends was Carlos Marcello, who knew Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Most startling of all, we hear in Brown's own words about the party she attended the night before President Kennedy's terrible murder a party at Clint Murchison's home in Dallas attended by Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, John J. McCloy, and others of his rich, famous and powerful friends. Only John Kennedy wasn't there...
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