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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. IV Paperback – May 7, 2013
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: In the fourth volume of Caro’s ambitious, decades-long biographic exploration, Lyndon Johnson finally reaches the White House. At 600-plus pages, it’s a brick of a book, but it reads at times like a novel, and a thriller, and a Greek tragedy. Caro's version of JFK's assassination is especially chilling, and the characters—not just LBJ, but the Kennedys and the power brokers of Washington --are downright Shakespearean. --Neal Thompson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Lyndon Johnson was a figure of immense gifts and horrendous flaws, and I doubt any writer will ever capture the arc of his triumphant and ultimately tragic life so well again. — Michael Kazin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The documentation in this volume is a testament to the almost superhuman self discipline of Johnson. For the period when he was the vice president to JFK, he was belittled, insulted, humiliated and, in toda's lingo, 'disrespected'. His treatment under the JFK administration illustrates the immaturity of John Kennedy, and even more, his brother, Bobby. The sadness is that LBJ could have accomplished so much on the legislative side for JFK and he was ready to do it. Perhaps after his behavior in the Senate, this was simply karma coming back around, I don't know. But to have to live through the treatment he received at the hands of the Kennedys (not to mention their condescension toward Lady Bird) and yet never, ever showing ugliness in return in either words or deeds, is truly remarkable. Equally amazing is how LBJ transformed himself literally in an hour or two after the assassination.
Mr. Caro is in his eighties; at the rate at which he releases these books I have real doubts he'll see LBJ through to the end. It's my hope that, if he doesn't, someone can take up; Ina's research and get LBJ through his presidency. However, even if that doesn't happen, the volumes he's written will continue to stand alone, unique in not only political biographies but all biographies.
It had all gone wrong. JFK and LBJ had arranged for the president to go to on a quick speaking tour in Texas precisely to try to resolve a feud between Sen. Yarborough, who didn't want to ride with him, and Governor Connally, who had once been an LBJ assistant. LBJ, fearful of being dumped from the 1964 ticket, was trying to show he could keep Texas (and his place on the ticket) for JFK despite the rising popularity of Barry Goldwater, the expected GOP nominee. And here he was, surrounded by scandal caused by his own creature, his political career hanging in the balance. And then in a moment shots rang out and everything changed.
And Mr. Caro presents this as a if it were a spy novel, cutting back and forth between the Baker thread--the LIFE meeting and the Senate hearing--and the events in Dallas. It begins slowly, suspensefully, but turns into frenzy and finally a dirge, as LBJ, his body covered by a secret service agent, is sped to a safe cubicle in the hospital where JFK would die, standing there, waiting for the news he knew would come, a carnation from the earlier celebrations still somehow pinned to his lapel. From the dustbin of history to the top of the greasy poll in less than an hour, the 36th President of the United States quickly took charge, and got the government (and the shattered survivors) back on course--back to the plane and the swearing-in ceremony presided over by Federal Judge Sara Hughes, a friend of LBJ's who the Kennedy administration had refused to appoint to the bench until legendary Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, already terminally ill, intervened.
It's history as Shakespeare--with LBJ's tragic flaws--his impatience, his desperate need to win and fear of losing that had kept him from declaring his candidacy in 1960 soon enough--kept in check. If not for long, as Mr. Caro concludes, "long enough."
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1) That LBJ yearned to become President "all his life;" (x)
2) That he had no principles other than to attain power, and...Read more