Sanchez Lecture Series Features Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam at A&M International

The third installment of the A. R. Sanchez Sr. Distinguished Lecturer Series at Texas A&M International University will feature a nationally recognized scholar on Lyndon Johnson on Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in the Great Room of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

The free lecture is hosted by the College of Arts and Humanities and will feature Dr. Frank E. Vandiver, President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of History at Texas A&M University and Director of the Mosher Institute for International Policy Studies.

Dr. Vandiver is the author of Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars (Texas A&M University Press). Vandiver, who has previously completed biographies on Stonewall Jackson and John J. Pershing, illuminates the shadow over President Lyndon Johnson's struggle with the Vietnam Crisis in Shadows of Vietnam.

In a thorough account of the period from late 1967 to LBJ's decision not to run for re-election, Vandiver offers a sweeping synthesis of the scholarship on Johnson's war presidency, along with new insights culled from numerous and extensive interviews and immersion in the primary documents housed in archives around the country.

This controversial presentation proposes to show what Johnson knew, felt, feared, and tried to do, thus offering a new view of Johnson -- as he likely saw himself.

From the day Johnson stepped into the presidency, he lived in the shadow of Vietnam. With all his skills as a hard-nosed politician, he should have been successful at waging war.

On the home front, with his War on Poverty, he was successful. Yet in Vietnam he failed, in epic proportions. This is the paradox that frames Vandiver's riveting examination of one of America's most controversial presidents, mired in the nation's most controversial war.

Vandiver provides an unusual combination of politico-military analysis with on-the-scene battle narratives, dramatically juxtaposing for the reader the reality in Vietnam with the perceptions of it in Washington.

Frank E. Vandiver has published numerous works on American military history, including the critically acclaimed biographies Mighty Stonewall and Black Jack; The Life and Times of John J. Pershing (both by the Texas A&M University Press)

Dr. Jerry Thompson, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at A&M International, said that Vandiver's lecture will help those attending to understand Lyndon Johnson in a new light.

"It's still not popular to be sympathetic to Lyndon Johnson, but lecturer Vandiver offers us remarkable insight into this most troubling time for a United States president. I believe anyone who has ever been fascinated by the tragedy of Vietnam will benefit from this scholar's lecture," Dr. Thompson explained.

The Distinguished Lecture Series honors Antonio R. Sanchez Sr. (1916-1992). After 20 years as the owner of an office equipment business, Sanchez in the 1960s began buying oil and gas leases and used his earnings to establish a bank.

In 1974, Sanchez and his son, A.R. Sanchez Jr., along with geologist Brian O'Brien, established the Sanchez O'Brien Oil and Gas Corporation. The same year the father and son team discovered the largest natural gas field (Webb and Zapata Counties) to that point in history.

Under his leadership as chairman, the International Bank of Commerce grew to become the International Bancshares Corporation, with banks in Laredo, Zapata, Houston, San Antonio, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and the Gulf Coast.

Sanchez was a major crusader for a four-year University in Laredo and a supporter of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He was also a legendary Texas entrepreneur with a down-to-earth sense of humor.

The lecture series is presented through the vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Sanchez Jr.

This fall, the A. R. Sanchez Distinguished Lecture Series will feature Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Steven Weinberg (Physics 1979).

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180 or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Information is also available by email at pais@tamiu.edu and through the University's Home Page.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu