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Master Of The Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Paperback – April 25, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In Master of the Senate book three of Robert Caro’s series on Lyndon Johnson, one is first struck by something that we rarely see in historical biography in that the institution of... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Michael Griswold
Lengthy book, but worth reading. Gave me a better look of the American political system and the whys of existence of the Houses. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rinaldo
Unbelievably detailed. Almost like a textbook/transcript of the congressional record during the period covered. I just wish the author was a little less repetitive. Read morePublished 1 month ago by NYFry
Caro is a master at making the events of an individual's life read like a dramatic story.
Not only do we gain an appreciation for the skill and acumen displayed by Johnson... Read more
Incredibly well written making it and enjoyable read. Caro is able to present Johnson as the complicated man he was.Published 2 months ago by Emily Ambler
The four biography package from author Robert Caro on Lyndon Johnson, combined, is the best political biography I have ever read.. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JGB
Incredible book in Caro's series on LBJ. Insights into Johnson's character, drive, motives as well as the people who surrounded him.Published 3 months ago by J. M. O'Connor