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The Master of the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 3) Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product Details

  • Series: Years of Lyndon Johnson (Book 3)
  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (April 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553712918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553712919
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4 x 2.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,157,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Caro's Master of the Senate examines in meticulous detail Lyndon Johnson's career in that body, from his arrival in 1950 (after 12 years in the House of Representatives) until his election as JFK's vice president in 1960. This, the third in a projected four-volume series, studies not only the pragmatic, ruthless, ambitious Johnson, who wielded influence with both consummate skill and "raw, elemental brutality," but also the Senate itself, which Caro describes (pre-1957) as a "cruel joke" and an "impregnable stronghold" against social change. The milestone of Johnson's Senate years was the 1957 Civil Rights Act, whose passage he single-handedly engineered. As important as the bill was--both in and of itself and as a precursor to wider-reaching civil rights legislation--it was only close to Johnson's Southern "anti-civil rights" heart as a means to his dream: the presidency. Caro writes that not only does power corrupt, it "reveals," and that's exactly what this massive, scrupulously researched book does. A model of social, psychological, and political insight, it is not just masterful; it is a masterpiece. --H. O'Billovich --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

As a genre, Senate biography tends not to excite. The Senate is a genteel establishment engaged in a legislative process that often appears arcane to outsiders. Nevertheless, there is something uniquely mesmerizing about the wily, combative Lyndon Johnson as portrayed by Caro. In this, the third installment of his projected four-volume life of Johnson (following The Path to Power and Means of Ascent), Caro traces the Texan's career from his days as a newly elected junior senator in 1949 up to his fight for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. In 1953, Johnson became the youngest minority leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, the youngest majority leader. Throughout the book, Caro portrays an uncompromisingly ambitious man at the height of his political and rhetorical powers: a furtive, relentless operator who routinely played both sides of the street to his advantage in a range of disputes. "He would tell us [segregationists]," recalled Herman Talmadge, "I'm one of you, but I can help you more if I don't meet with you." At the same time, Johnson worked behind the scenes to cultivate NAACP leaders. Though it emerges here that he was perhaps not instinctively on the side of the angels in this or other controversies, the pragmatic Senator Johnson nevertheless understood the drift of history well, and invariably chose to swim with the tide, rather than against. The same would not be said later of the Johnson who dwelled so glumly in the White House, expanding a war that even he, eventually, came to loathe. But that is another volume: one that we shall await eagerly. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Brilliant portrait of a fascinating man and a great lesson in how politics and the US Senate work.
Kindle Customer
It took Caro 12 years between his last book and this, but after reading MASTER OF THE SENATE I can hardly wait for his next one.
John B. Maggiore
So... I FINALLY finished "The Master of the Senate" by Robert Caro - the 3rd in a 5 volume series on President Lyndon Johnson.
skeeterbug

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Paul Britton on April 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Readers who found themselves devouring David McCullough's superb biography of John Adams and Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" may think it's a new phenomenon for works of history and biography to be as compellingly written as a novel by John Grisham or Stephen King.
But Robert Caro set the standard years with his enormous biography of New York City mogul Robert Moses (which appeared in the early 1970s) and with the first volume of his monumental biography of Lyndon Johnson (which appeared in 1982). Caro knows how to tell a story like no one else. Like its two predecessors, "Master of the Senate" will keep you up long after you know you should turn off the lights and go to sleep.
This is not merely lively writing; it is meticulously researched political and social history, and it is the story of a man who was larger than life, in the full sense of that cliched term. During his lifetime, no one, even his closest colleagues and family members, could have known or understood half as much about Lyndon Johnson as Robert Caro has learned in his nearly thirty years of researching Johnson's life and times. Every colorful detail recounted by Caro fascinates, sometimes morbidly, for Johnson's many character defects tended to overshadow his real accomplishments and his place in 20th century American history. Caro does not stint on either character defects or accomplishments.
I waited restlessly for ten years for this volume, wondering when -- and if -- it would appear, wondering whether Caro would have the health and strength to research and write it. His life of Johnson was originally to have been three volumes; now a fourth will be needed.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By "apsk13" on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Caro's work is amazing - again. Just as with the first two volumes of the life of Lyndon Johnson, Master of the Senate is a page turning epic, this time focusing on the United States Senate in the 1950s. Caro's description of Johnson's meteoric rise demonstrates the subject's brilliance in, first the attainment, and then the use, of power. One also comes away with the the unavoidable impression that this use of power was, primarily, for personal purposes.
Johnson is not a likeable character in any of the author's three volumes. Liar, cheater, overly sensitive, obsessed, cold, unfeeling, mean-spirited (read how he treats Lady Bird), all of these descriptions are appropriate. You might think that Caro does not like his subject and is tainted in his analysis. However, when you consider the amount of work and research that went into this offering, as well as the other volumes, it is hard to challenge the author's motivation or analysis. The three volumes taken together, to my mind, constitute the most thoroughly researched work on any political figure in American political history.
Do not be put off by the massiveness of the work. Unless you have a pretty open schedule it will take you sometime to get through the more than one thousand pages, but it is thoroughly enjoyable from cover to cover. The writing is as good as the research. And it is not just Johnson. Caro's mini-biography of Senator Russell of Georgia, which continues throughout the pages, is brilliant. His history of the Senate and its great figures, including Clay, Calhoun and Webster, which puts Johnson's actions into context, might be the single best part of the book (don't skip over it).
There is so much included in Master of the Senate, all of it worthwhile.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on June 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again, Robert Caro hits a home run. The third volume of the LBJ biography is even better (to my mind, at least) than either volumes one or two. The first hundred pages is the best history of the United States Senate I have ever read.
Caro's writing style is never ever boring. He turns a phrase as well as any fiction author, and captures the imposing presence of LBJ. For the reader it is as if we were actually on the Senate floor, being buttonholed by Johnson himself. LBJ alternately cajoled, threatened, flattered, fawned and browbeat his colleagues as he consolidated power in himself as no one ever had before him.
The story of this volume is Johnson's transformation from a typical Southern Senator, with all the baggage that entails, to the man who masterminded the passage of the first Civil Rights law in one hundred years. There is no question that the Act as passed was tepid, and the jury trial guarantee which was included in order to get the Southern Senators to acquiesce to its passage was enough to ensure that perpetrators of rights violation could do so without fear of conviction. Nonetheless, if only for its symbolic significance, Caro makes clear that this did offer hope to a segment of the population sorely in need of even that symbolic victory. There is ample evidence presented for those who believe that Johnson went through this effort and transformation because of his driving ambition to be President.
His most brilliant work since the Robert Moses bio. No doubt this volume will join that opus as one of the most important biographies of our time.
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