Julia Sweig | Ladybird Johnson

JUNE 3 | 5 PM

In collaboration with the History Book Festival, join us for a live, interactive talk with Julia Sweig, author of Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight, the Non-Fiction Keynote event for the 2021 virtual History Book Festival. Sweig will be in conversation with author and Washington bureau chief of USA Today Susan Page. 

Lady Bird Johnson’s complex role — as a political partner to her husband, President Lyndon Johnson, as a vital yet underappreciated presence in the White House, and as a critical advisor and strategist — is recast in this new biography. The story is told in Lady Bird’s own words through the largely unknown and overlooked audio diaries that she kept during her five-plus years in the White House: 123 hours of tape totaling 1,750,000 words. The tapes show her to be a formidable storyteller and historian and a conscious creator of legacy. 

Lady Bird’s almost real-time, highly personal narration of key moments of American history showcases her narrative prowess and unique perspective as she brings to life both the tragedies that defined the ’60s — the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the Vietnam War — and the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement.

Author Julia Sweig’s exhaustive research unearths several revelations, including the part Lady Bird played in her husband’s decision not to run for reelection in 1968, as well as her crucial role in environmental policy-making as evidenced through her “beautification” project — a euphemism that actually brought civil rights, the environment, and social justice together — most crucially in American cities like Washington, D.C.

Julia Sweig is an award-winning author of books on Cuba, Latin America, and American foreign policy. Her writing has appeared in numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and the Los Angeles Times. She served as senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for 15 years and concurrently led the Aspen Institute’s congressional seminar on Latin America for 10 years. Sweig is a nonresident senior research fellow at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. She hosts the podcast “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson,” produced by ABC Audio and Best Case Studios and available on all major podcast platforms.

Susan Page will be in conversation with Sweig during the event. Page is the Washington bureau chief of USA Today, where she writes about the White House and national politics. She is the author of Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, a biography of Pelosi published in April 2021, and The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, published in 2019, which was a New York Times bestseller. Page has covered 11 presidential elections and is now covering her seventh White House administration. In 2020, she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. She frequently appears as an analyst on TV and radio.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing copy of their book from Browseabout Books. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed bookplate.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email the History Book Festival.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for this session. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Event address: