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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 1, 2012
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Caro begins with Johnson at the height of his success in the Senate. Still only in his second term, he had taken the weak position of Senate Majority Leader and turned it into the second most powerful office in national politics, thanks largely to his enormous personal and legislative abilities. But Johnson had his eye on an even larger prize: the presidency itself, an office he had aspired to for decades and which in 1960 seemed to many to be his for the taking. Yet Johnson hesitated to commit himself to the race, fearing the humiliation of a defeat. This created an opening that John F. Kennedy eagerly exploited. With his brother Robert collecting commitments in the west - a region critical to Johnson's chances - Kennedy outmaneuvered the Texas senator and won the nomination, demonstrating just how completely Johnson had misjudged his opponent.
Yet for Johnson a new opportunity presented itself when Kennedy offered him the vice presidential nomination during the convention.Read more ›
Either way, you are in for a real treat. Many readers agree that writing doesn't get any better than this, and the proof is that Caro's writings have stood the test of time, and his reputation has simply gotten bigger. This is 605 pages (736 with footnotes) of detailed writing that any student of that period will cherish. The first half of the book, over 300 pages is dedicated to the last two Senate years, and the Vice Presidential years when LBJ lived the most down in the valley depressing type experience. He was ignored by the President, and castigated by young Robert Kennedy. Between the two of them Johnson's power had been castrated, and he was boxed into a small office. In a city where power was everything, Johnson now had none.
This is especially interesting in light of the heights from which he the former Senate Majority leader had fallen. Johnson as leader was considered the most powerful man in the Congress, with the White House held by the popular Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. Ike could get nothing done in the Democratic Congress without LBJ's help.Read more ›
If you have never read Robert Caro before, take a few minutes and read the introduction to this book on your computer. Certainly many people, especially those who have no personal memory of the years covered in this book, might wonder why a slice of only a few years in the life of a not especially beloved President is worth reading. The answer is first that few US politician were as complex and bigger-than-life than LBJ. And most importantly, LBJ was, from a young age, possessed by a need for power and with a startling ability to work hard and concentrate on what he wanted, became a master of how to obtain power, Power. In doing so LBJ pushed himself further and further in and up the United States political power structure, improbably ending as President after the assassination of Kennedy. The fact that a poor, ill-educated, physically unattractive politician with a heavy Southern accent could attain the presidency says much about both the US and about LBJ.
Caro has captured that time in US culture and politics, and his subject, LBJ, with astute observations, particularly about power.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Passage of Power continues the story of LBJ though the transition after kennedy's death. I love these books not because I love LBJ, but because they give great insight to the... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Alan G Lambert
While some people believe that the fourth volume The Passage of Power covers the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson, it actually covers roughly 1958-63 with the majority of time spent on... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Michael Griswold
Some of it was repetitive if you read the previous volumes. I admit to skipping over a lot of what I had previously read. Still, I can't wait for the final book.Published 22 days ago by KathR
The previous volumes set the stage for this, the most dramatic period of LBJ's public life. Caro continues his superb weaving the history of a heroic and tragic persona--love him,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by ma john
As much of a jerk I thought Lyndon was, he truly is a hero compared to the presidents that have followed. He tended to the people, not business. A remarkable story, and man.Published 1 month ago by William Magnus
Although I enjoyed the earlier volumes, Caro's light, exculpating treatment of Johnson's role in the JFK assassination is troubling. Read morePublished 2 months ago by US History Prof