PBS' "American Experience" begins a four-hour biography of Lyndon B. Johnson with two hours of "LBJ" tonight at 9 o'clock on channels 22 and 67. The second half is tomorrow at 9 p.m.
This documentary dabbles little in amateur psychoanalysis or complex theories, but its straightforward accounting is full of resonance and depth.
At times Johnson seems like "Citizen Kane," with complexities that belied his quest for the simple love of a distant mother. He seems alternately like the basest of politicians and the noblest of philosophers.
And the narration by David McCullough reminds us that whatever the eventual outcomes of the Great Society or the Vietnam war, both arose from admirable impulses -- to help the poor, to defend liberty -- that came from somewhere within this noble, tragic man.