Ghostwriters are a hazard to historians

LBJ had letters to his mother ghostwritten every week. Misguided historians analyzed their meaning ....

Ghostwriters can confuse historians. Acquaintance Rick Perlstein quotes from James Reston, Jr.'s The Lone Star: The Life of John Connally:

So comprehensive was the Johnson letter mill that it even included a weekly letter from Johnson to his mother Rebekah. These letters have become of particular interest Johnson biographers, especially those with a psychological bent…. “There have been a lot of ridiculous ideas about Lyndon Johnson’s mother…about her influence, about this need to please her,” [Johnson aide] Gene Latimer has said. "[Historian] Doris Kearns, for example, she must be absolutely out of her mind! Kearns talks a lot about that relationship and his letters to her. Well, what Kearns didn't know was that he never had time to write his mother from Washington. That was my job. I was assigned every week to write a two-page letter to his mamma…you know, a family letter like I’d write to my own mother. It was typewritten. He’d sign it and away it would go."

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