Election season is finally ramping up, and it’s got us thinking Presidential. As we look to elect our next Commander-in-Chief, it’s appropriate to look back and some loved and not-so-loved leaders of the free world. Some Presidents have gloried in the popularity of the people, and some were reviled. Stuck between Kennedy and Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson if often an overlooked political figure. The Enhanced Nook Book “Indomitable Will: LBJ In the Presidency” by Mark K. Updegrove aims to change that.
Updegrove claims that Johnson didn’t receive the credit or attention he deserved, partly because he didn’t photograph well and didn’t perform particularly well on television. He was, by all accounts, a complex man who is best remembered, not by the public, but by those who knew him well. The book, Updegrove says, aims to “provide a portrait of Johnson through the stories and recollections of the people who were there with him day in and day out during his presidency…and through Johnson’s own recollections and his own words, in phone conversations as history was being made.”
Regardless of the history, it’s the enhanced e-book’s multimedia features that put us on the edge of our seats. The book includes more than 100 extras–Photos and documents (written speeches and personal letters), audio files of radio and phone conversations, as well as video from his few television appearances. The private phone conversations especially help the reader grasp Johnson’s personality; some recordings capture him being charming and funny while others catch a cruder side. We also found the multimedia elements do a good job of depicting Johnson’s entire life, not just his Presidential life, including letters from when he was in the Navy and photos from after he left office.
The digital table of contents makes it easy for readers to go in chapter-by-chapter order or skip around. There’s also an Index of Voices page that outlines all the figures mentioned in the book and what relation they had to Johnson, and if they were government figures what years they served. Our only gripe about this Index is that it doesn’t appear to list the figures in any particular order; it’s certainly not in alphabetical nor does it appear to be in chronological, which complicates the historical storyline. A List of Enhancements navigation page lets you skip to the multimedia features you want rather than slogging through the actual text.
The meat of the book–the text–consists of quotes from those who knew him well, quotes from Johnson himself and Updegrove’s narrative detailing the life of a powerful and determined man. Footnotes appear frequently, linking to an explanations of textual allusions. And an Index in the back of the book helps readers search and find key terms in the text for quick referencing.
“Indomitable Will: LBJ In the Presidency” ($15.99) brings readers a new understanding of Lyndon B. Johnson with its insight into the minds of those who knew him best. The Enhanced Nook Book, which we tested on the Nook Tablet, takes that a step further, introducing key multimedia to get a taste and feel for how the former president operated. The hardcover version of this book is just $1 more, but doesn’t offer all the tantalizing extras found here. Updegrove is right, some presidents inevitably receive more attention than others, but this interactive biography gives readers an inside look on one of the nation’s lesser talked-about leaders.