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On The White House Watch

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Fall 1996

On The White House Watch
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In 1994, Dallek retired, though he retains close ties to UCLA. A founding member of the School of Public Policy and Social Research, he taught the first course in the school last fall. In October, he'll be the star attraction at a fund-raising dinner for the College of Letters and Science.

In the meantime, he's also finishing the second volume of his LBJ biography. Shortly after moving to Washington, Dallek went to the University of Texas at Austin to teach and to do research in the LBJ Presidential Library. Scheduled for publication in 1998, the final part of the historian's magnum opus will pick up the Johnson saga during his years as vice president and take it through the end of the embattled politician's life.

In Lone Star Rising, Dallek delivered a slew of revelations about LBJ. The new material documented both acts of skullduggery and tremendous courage. On the one hand, Johnson may have improperly lobbied U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black to reject a legal challenge to the 1948 Senate election which he narrowly won by stuffing ballot boxes in South Texas. On the other hand, he also secretly helped Jews fleeing Nazi Germany enter the United States.

This time around, Dallek has again uncovered a wealth of new material. He's the first researcher to be granted access to tapes Johnson covertly made of phone conversations while he occupied the White House. "Johnson had given them to the LBJ library and told his secretary to have them sealed for 50 years after his death," Dallek explains. "But Harry Middleton, the head of the library, who was a Johnson aide and speechwriter, is very sympathetic to the idea of having the full story told."

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