Lyndon Johnson was one of the greatest US presidents and the 4th volume of Robert Caro’s fantastic biography of him, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson is about his becoming VP, then President and how he used his incredible political skills to push the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through the Senate – the very body which had blocked civil rights since Reconstruction and in which Johnson had been a member of the Southern caucus – the group which would do anything to block any Bills which helped black Americans and who has blocked every attempt by JFK to help black Americans.
There is no doubt Johnson was in many ways a terrible man. His abuse of his staff and his wife, his casual racism, his cheating in elections, his corruption, all stand against him as of course does the Vietnam War. But he knew that civil rights would destroy the Democratic Party in the South (it did) and did it anyway – probably no other man could have done it but him, with his knowledge of the Senate ( from having been its leader), his background in the South and his total and utter ruthlessness.
You can buy it here.