Cover image for LBJ's Texas White House : "our heart's home"
LBJ's Texas White House : "our heart's home"
Rothman, Hal, 1958-2007.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
College Station : Texas A&M University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 300 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E847.2 .R68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



If Lyndon Baines Johnson was larger than life, the family ranch with which he identified, which he and Lady Bird fondly called their "heart's home," and which he made the Texas White House during his five years as president, was part of the reason. In this innovative history of the Johnson Ranch, its ethos and operation, Hal K. Rothman has told a story unlike any other in western history. It is a story of national and even international dimensions, yet truly grounded in the Texas earth. It is a story of the relationship between power and place in American culture.

The Johnson Ranch, to which LBJ took foreign dignitaries and national political leaders and to which he himself returned often while in office for renewal and perspective, represented the "real" America to many of its visitors. For many Americans (and perhaps for Johnson himself), the Texas White House evoked the national ethos about rural America and family ties, yet it also had rapid access by jet and the most sophisticated communications system in the world.

In this detailed and engagingly written account of the way the ranch was used during Johnson's years in public office, readers will learn who visited, how they were fed and entertained and how LBJ conducted the nation's business while there. Readers will also get a fascinating interpretation of the role of the ranch in forming Johnson's own self-image, in promoting Johnson and his rags-to-riches story to the voting public, and in offering Johnson in retirement the one thing he truly craved: control. The Johnson Ranch offers a fascinating insight into the meaning of place in American politics and culture.

After the president's death, and in accordance with Johnson's wishes, parts of the ranch were incorporated into the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, which now consists of the Boyhood Home in Johnson City, the Birthplace, the Johnson Settlement, and the Texas White House. Through the experiences it represents, which are an integral part of Johnson's legacy, it has become one more way in which this dynamic president has influenced U.S. history.

Author Notes

He is a leading historian of the American West, especially of the environment in the West. Holding a Ph. D. in American studies from the University of Texas, he teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His book Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth Century American West received the Western Writers of America's Spur Award for Best Contemporary Non-Fiction in 1999.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Of 20th-century US presidents, perhaps only Harry Truman had as much attachment to his geographical roots as did Lyndon B. Johnson. The Texas White House, Johnson's ranch in the Texas hill country, became familiar terrain to Americans during the 1960s. There the president politicked, relaxed, hosted dignitaries, and staged Texas-sized barbecues. Guests ranged from West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to a camel driver invited during a vice-presidential visit to Pakistan. What might have been a mere nostalgic reminiscence, however, becomes an analytical study enlivened with plenty of anecdotes. Famous stories of the president driving across the ranch at excessive speeds do not overshadow less well known stories of relationships with neighbors. Rothman (history, Univ. of Nevada) argues that the ranch served the president symbolically, most significantly by providing a way for Johnson to remake himself into a Westerner during an era when his southern background might have prevented his emergence as a national politician. The author examines ranch operations, media relations, and the renovations necessary to transform a remote ranch into a president's office, including the installation of modern telecommunications equipment and the construction of a runway. General and undergraduate collections. A. J. Dunar University of Alabama in Huntsville

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. IX
Acknowledgmentsp. XI
Introductionp. 3
Chapter 1 Buntons, Baineses, Johnsons, and the Hill Countryp. 8
Chapter 2 Buying the Family Ranchp. 38
Chapter 3 The Senate Years: Creating a Mythic Place from an Actual One, 1951-60p. 56
Chapter 4 The Vice President's Ranchp. 88
Chapter 5 Creating the First Remote White Housep. 123
Chapter 6 The President's Palace: The Ranch Day-to-Day, 1963-69p. 146
Chapter 7 A Slice of Real America: Showcasing the Ranch during the Presidencyp. 165
Chapter 8 Eastern Media and the Man from Texas: The Ranch as a Cross-Cultural Experiencep. 189
Chapter 9 The Ranch as a Havenp. 213
Chapter 10 "Eight Hundred Yards up the Road": The Ranch and Retirement, 1969-73p. 233
Epilogue: Power and Place in American Culturep. 258
Notesp. 285
Indexp. 293