Mark Updegrove

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

Mark Updegrove at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of contradictions and one of America’s least understood presidents. In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, his administration passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Medicare, and many other laws that still shape American society today. Nevertheless, these achievements fell under the shadow of the steadily worsening problem of the Vietnam War. Mark K. Updegrove’s oral history Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency illuminates the life of and administration of this complex president. The book is structured as a compilation of Johnson’s own words, interviews and personal accounts from family, friends, and political allies and foes. Updegrove’s own explanations lend shape and structure to the many stories of LBJ. Updegrove quotes John Connally, an early Johnson campaign manager, in saying that Johnson “was cruel and kind, generous and greedy, sensitive and insensitive, crafty and naïve, ruthless and thoughtful, simple in many ways and yet extremely complex, caring and totally not caring.” Indomitable Will captures the essence of a man who, though president, was still very much human. Updegrove is currently the director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. He is a sought-after political commentator and is also the author of Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis and Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House. At the 2010 Book Festival, Updegrove moderated an interview with former First Lady Laura Bush.