“I Reckon You’re One Of Them New York Doves”

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It was my desire to coax the real Lyndon Johnson out of hiding in his next book, the one that was to be devoted to his career in Congress. Not long after publication of The Vantage Point , I asked LBJ—not for the first time—if he would “write” the next volume of his memoirs by talking into a tape recorder, with no ghostwriters looking over his shoulder. To my surprise, he agreed. And then he died, suddenly, of a heart attack in January of 1972.

Because LBJ, in his larger-than-life way, embodied so many of the better angels as well as the demons of America’s nature, I still wonder whether, in the fullness of years, he might have acknowledged some of his mistakes and helped his countrymen reflect upon the lessons of his Presidency.

Aaron Asher worked as an editor and publisher for more than 45 years. He has edited the works of many distinguished fiction and nonfiction authors, including Arthur Miller, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, and Saul Bellow . Mr. Asher lives in New York City.