"CONCERN FOR HIS FELLOWMAN EXCITES ME": EXCEEDINGLY RARE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF VANTAGE POINT, INSCRIBED BY PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON TO GOVERNOR GEORGE ROMNEY MERE DAYS BEFORE LBS'S DEATH, WITH ROMNEY'S EXTENSIVE NOTES SIGNED BY HIM, DESCRIBING HIS MEETING WITH JOHNSON AT THE LBJ RANCH
(ROMNEY, Mitt) JOHNSON, Lyndon Baines. The Vantage Point. Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, (1971). Octavo, original red cloth, cartographic and facsimile endpapers, original dust jacket. $11,500.
First edition of President Lyndon Johnson's presidential memoir, an especially rare and memorable presentation/association copy with a lengthy inscription by Johnson on the dedication page, signed and dated by Johnson days before his death, with LBJ's bold inscription reading: "For Governor George Romney whose concern for his fellowman excites me. With admiration & respect, Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ Ranch Jan. 9, 1973." This copy also contains Governor Romney's extensive notes covering the entire page opposite the title page, entirely in Romney's hand and signed by him, beginning with the words: "Flying from L.B.J. Ranch to Dallas." Within two weeks of this memorable day, President Johnson was dead.
On January 9, 1973 Mitt Romney, then serving his last days as Nixon's HUD Secretary, visited LBJ at his Texas ranch. Johnson had suffered a near-crippling heart attack in 1972, but was "still very much 'Mr. President' to the retinue serving him in retirement." Within days of Romney's visit, for example, "President Nixon called to tell Johnson that a cease-fire was imminent. Johnson got in touch with his veteran speechwriter, Horace Busby, and asked him to prepare a statement on the cease-fire. 'Get this thought in,' Johnson instructed Busby. 'No man worked harder or wanted peace more than I'" (Atlantic). Johnson's undiminished focus on his legacy is clearly present in Romney's extensive notes in this copy, which record the contents of their meeting. Romney's text, entirely in precise cursive and signed by him, covers the entire page opposite the title page. Johnson's own bold inscription to Romney on the dedication page is dated "Jan. 9, 1973" speaks to LBJ's undiminished high regard for all those who shared his passion for governance. In less than two weeks, on January 22, Johnson died.
The full text of Romney's notes reads: "Flying from L.B.J. Ranch in Dallas. President Johnson visited with me for three hours. He indicated the largest amount of legislation in history, passed by a single Pres. (passed by him) was as a result of crisis. He indicated that even though he had support of most groups, it took a crisis to get action. This included the open housing legislation passed following Martin Luther King's assassination. Three weeks before he had refused the request of all Civil Rights leaders to issue an open housing executive order and told Clarence Mitchell it would take ten years to get such legislation. Pres. Johnson said when I talked about basic reforms being dependent on a crisis, he almost interrupted to say 'amen.' The Concerned Citizen Movement I outlined he described as being 'right on target.' He gave me names and was willing to advise on the organizing leadership group. In describing his problems as President he said his greatest problem was communication. That Nixon was better—deserved an A—compared to a D for him—but that Nixon is now in trouble. Of great interest was his account of almost withdrawing from re-nomination a day before the 1964 Convention and Lady Bird's letter to him while in Nat. Security meeting. [signed] George Romney."
"First Edition" on copyright page; first printing dust jacket with $15.00 on front flap. With numerous black-and-white photographic illustrations.
Folding has resulted in leaves poorly trimmed in the binding process at pages 203-06, as issued; traces of tape removal to front free endpaper and title page. An exceptional about-fine copy.