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Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  39 reviews
After three years of cooperation with the author, Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson ended her participation in this biography after an essay Russel published about LBJ's infidelities. Lady Bird covers the full spectrum of Mrs. Johnson's life, career, and ultimately her multi-layers, seldom-documented relationship with LBJ. ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Taylor Trade Publishing (first published August 16th 1999)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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I read the Robert A. Caro biography series on Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird was of course, mentioned in the book. I just completed reading “ Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson” by Jan Jarboe Russell and I am surprised at how much I learned about both lady Bird Johnson but also LBJ from this book.

Russell reveals that after three years into her research for the book she received an icy letter from Mrs. Johnson abruptly ending their interviews. Lady Bird was 86 years old and freely cooperating w
Susan O
I don't usually rate books with 1 or 2 stars, because I don't usually finish books I don't like and don't feel it is fair to rate them if I don't finish them. In this case, however, I wanted the information about Lady Bird Johnson in preparation for reading Robert Caro's biography of LBJ. That being said, there were parts of this book that I liked, but overall it was disappointing.

I thought she did a good job in telling Lady Bird's experience of the assassination of JFK and her whistle-stop tou
Jason Browning
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This biographical work concerning Lady Bird Johnson provides an overview of her life as a child, congressional wife, and First Lady. It is, however, at best an overview of most of these. It is unfortunate that Russell chooses instead to focus on Mrs. Johnson's ability to "look past" LBJ's well documented indiscretions. Russell focuses the majority of her work on discussing Lady Bird's stoicism and strength.

While it is no doubt true that Lady Bird was the exemplar of both of those assets, there i
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Claudia Lady Bird Taylor was not the first woman to run off with a good looking man she barely knew in an attempt to escape a domineering father, only to discover she'd bedded down with an equally domineering husband. Poor Bird, what she chose put up with.
It came as a surprise that behind the drab exterior was a savvy business woman, an ambitious politician, as well as an independent and wealthy woman. That she was an unavailable mother also came as a surprise.
Good bibliography and history les
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
The movie was so highly acclaimed that I wanted to read the book first. Knowing little to nothing about the Johnsons and the Johnson presidency (a bit before my time), it was interesting from a historical standpoint. The recounting of JFK's rise to president, assassination, civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. I don't think I've ever read a book that wasn't better than the movie. I am guessing this movie is going to be boring. ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a lovely Book - I read it right after one on Jackie O. No comparison, a spoiled, egocentric 'girl' versus a well mannered lady. You know her husband wasn't a bad guy, desoite how he sometimes treated her - but she just persevered, and - very much made her own millions. Something he never did. Liked the book - would recommend if you have any interest in the history of that time or first ladies. ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson by Jan Jarboe Russell provides fascinating insight in to the world of Lady Bird Johnson. The book puts in to context how Mrs. Johnson's childhood shaped the woman that she became while married to LBJ and during his political career. I was captivated by every part of the story. It is a great read and I highly recommend it! ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting account of the life of Lady Bird Johnson. Our book club is reading another biography and I'm waiting for my copy to arrive, so I read this one to compare. As a Southern woman who grew up around women like Mrs. Johnson, I could understand a lot of her motivations and reasons for putting up with a lot of pain in her marriage. I do hope women have more choices in their lives these days. ...more
Apryl McLean
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish Lady Bird had been born about thirty years later. I like reading about first ladies, her husband disgusted me, I wish she'd had a more loving, more devoted, less selfish husband. I understand she married him and found that she had not married a very good husband but what she considered a good man and he needed her which she liked. ...more
Joseph J.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of 20th cent political history
Excellent in brief biography of Mrs. Johnson. Begun with the subject's cooperation, Mrs. Johnson subsequently ended the collaboration with the author in light of how her husband may appear. Therefore the book has the feel of uncompletion, while nevertheless containing a wealth of information and facts which those who remember Lady Bird-and those who don't-will appreciate. ...more
Kiki Z
Jul 31, 2019 added it
Shelves: unfinished
Honestly, this barely even feels like it's about Lady Bird. ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best books of a first Lady that I have read.
Andrew Mendoza
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own
This book takes quite some time to really pick up. The author spends much of her time trying to explain how Lady Bird's childhood influenced her as an adult, it began to feel forced. The big themes that the author pressed was 'Southern stoicism" and the concept that Lady Bird had no mother, therefore tried to fill the gap with the love of mother nature. There are interesting tidbits that come from her childhood. I was really intrigued by a profile on the man who founded Kellogg's, the cereal com ...more
Chris Aylott
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Lady Bird Johnson was just as complicated as her husband, and journalist Jan Jarboe Russell sometimes struggles with understanding the choices Lady Bird made with her life. Maybe I'm just a romantic, or old-fashioned, or both, but her relationship with Lyndon makes a lot of sense to me. She loved him, he loved her, they shared the same goals, and none of Lyndon's many affairs or personality flaws could change that.

While the relationship with Lyndon is central to the book (as it was to Lady Bird
Very detailed life story of a First Lady. She had strength, class & an inspirational love for nature. She was more than a devout wife to LBJ - a saint who bore his political escapades and extramarrital affairs. I'm disappointed that the writer, Jan Jarboe Russell, pressed Lady Bird on why she stayed with cheating LBJ all those years. It was because she wanted to. She loved him "warts and all." I also got a not-so-admiring look at the Kennedys. Nevertheless, Lady Bird was Texas' class act. The LB ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This biography of Lady Bird is both researched and developed from interviews the author Russel conducted. Though the first half of the book suffers a bit from a choppy style, Russel makes it clear how Lady Bird was a woman of her times: how this influenced and shaped her relationship with LBJ and with others as well as her perspective on life. Russel offers a fairly full account of the tumultuous times of the 1960s from Bird's perspective as a Southern Lady and the vice- and then, president's wi ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really liked this biography of a woman who, among many other roles, was the First Lady of the US. Following an icon like Jackie Kennedy must have been difficult but Lady Bird was elegant and had far more substance and class than many of us knew at the time. LBJ was a challenging (understatement) man to be married to as history has shown. Her loyalty, and devotion to him and to her family and country are recounted in a prose that I found engaging and enjoyable.
Jan 01, 2010 rated it liked it
I didn't know much about Lady Bird, and this was a good book to learn the basics about her early life and life with LBJ. What I didn't like: Jan Jarboe did too much psychoanalyzing, and she was constantly making the same point over and over. I also didn't like that the story ended abruptly with LBJ's death. I wanted to know about Lady Bird's life after LBJ. She seemed to come into her own after his death, yet only a few sentences were devoted to that. ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I did not know much about Lady Bird Johnson and was fascinated by the details of her early life and behind the scenes information. I was repelled by the descriptions of LBJ's personal behavior, and although none of it was a surprise, it was still disgusting. I find it interesting that at the time, LadyBird was considered a "real lady" for overlooking his sins. That wouldn't fly today. Nonetheless, I found myself admiring the woman for her sheer grit, determination and shrewdness. ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Lady Bird did more for the Texas wildflowers than anyone else, and since I love wildflowers she is my hero if for nothing other than that. The biography was easy to read and after reading the autobiography of Katherine Graham I just had to go out and read about Jacqueline Onasis and Lady Bird Johnson. I'm glad I did, I enjoyed both stories. ...more
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another talented woman of another generation who devoted her life to her husband. Although he seemed to love her, he abused her horribly. She deserved much of the credit for his success. It is touching story that made me alternately mad and sad. My Ttears on the last pages for the LBJ's tragic life and the way it affected her. ...more
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
After reading a little about the Johnsons from the Kennedy's point of view, I wanted to know more about Lady Bird. I found her strong and spirited, loving and kind. She was a woman ahead of her time as far as first ladies go. My favorite of her contributions will always be the wildflowers along the highway. ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I like the book for a couple of reasons. The author gave a different perspective on the events that influenced Lady Bird Johnson. I was surprised by some of the descriptions of the political campaigns and the work that both LBJ and Lady Bird did on the 1960 campaign. The other reason I liked the book was the new historical perspective of LBJ from Lady Bird.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have always thought of Lady Bird as the quintessential Southern woman. This book was an eye opener for me, as to her background and accomplishments pre LBJ. In Texas she is known for her support of the beautification of Texas Highways. A gracious lady who endured the ugliness of politics and LBJ.
Kelly Nix
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought Bill Clinton was a BAD BOY - he looks like a choir boy compared to LBJ - Lady Bird was a saint to put up with him and to "chanel" his energy and determination to the greater good???? - another very disfunctional situation! ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
What an amazing woman! My father always had a strong interest in LBJ even though, alas, the Vietnam War brought him down. But how this strong, patient woman loved her Lyndon, supported him, and put up with him impressed me immensely.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I purchased the audiobook and finished it in two days because I really enjoyed it. Lady Bird Johnson was a giving and classy woman. I admire how she carried herself through so many hardships and how she maintained a positive outlook in the face of some tough criticism.
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed thoroughly! Well written bio about a true Texas woman who changed our nations highways & byways, leaving the nation more beautiful because she cared.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finish-later, 2010
My Notes: I was on page 92. A great book. I plan on finishing, but I have other books beckoning my attention.
Joy H.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-abridged
She put up with a lot from LBJ. A gracious lady.
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