Joan Mellen Discusses New Book “Faustian Bargains” at “November In Dallas”

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The full title of my book is FAUSTIAN BARGAINS: LYNDON JOHNSON AND MAC WALLACE IN THE ROBBER BARON CULTURE OF TEXAS. The “robber barons” are represented by Herman and George Brown, who funded Lyndon Johnson’s political career from the 1930s on, and D. H. Byrd. Byrd not only supported Johnson politically, but he employed Johnson acolyte Mac Wallace at his company, TEMCO, an aircraft production company, following Mac Wallace’s conviction for murder with malice aforethought – what we could call “first degree murder.”


Nora Ann Carroll and Mac Wallace

Johnson probably was instrumental in obtaining Mac Wallace’s security clearance at the level of “SECRET”, which was required for him to work at TEMCO. This was no small feat since the recipient was a convicted murderer. I say “probably” because I could uncover no document suggesting that Lyndon Johnson was involved in obtaining Mac Wallace’s security clearance. The evidence is circumstantial, which only partially diminishes its importance.      

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Coming from Bloomsbury Publishers, September 13 2016


Pre-Order “Faustian Bargains” at Amazon

Perhaps no president has a more ambiguous reputation than LBJ. A brilliant tactician, he maneuvered colleagues and turned bills into law better than anyone. But he was trailed by a legacy of underhanded dealings, from his “stolen” Senate election in 1948 to kickbacks he artfully concealed from deals engineered with Texas wheeler-dealer Billie Sol Estes and defense contractors like his longtime supporter Brown & Root. On the verge of investigation, Johnson was reprieved when he became president upon JFK’s assassination. Among the remaining mysteries has been LBJ’s relationship to Mac Wallace who, in 1951, shot a Texas man having an affair with LBJ’s loose-cannon sister Josefa, also Wallace’s lover. When arrested, Wallace cooly said “I work for Johnson…I need to get back to Washington.” Charged with murder, he was overnight defended by LBJ’s powerful lawyer John Cofer, and though convicted, amazingly received a suspended sentence. He then got high-security clearance from LBJ friend and defense contractor D.H. Byrd, which the Office of Naval Intelligence tried to revoke for 11 years without success.

Using crucial Life magazine and Naval Intelligence files and the unredacted FBI files on Mac Wallace, never before utilized by others, investigative writer Joan Mellen skillfully connects these two disparate Texas lives and lends stark credence to the dark side of Lyndon Johnson that has largely gone unsubstantiated.