Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo
I will have to. There is only so much a reader can grasp on first reading. When you are in the hands of such a master, a replay is something to embrace. Hope there is a volume 5.
The only books to compare this to is Carl Sandburg's books on Lincoln. Caro is a national treasure and these four books are his gift to America.
Lying in bed at 2 AM with the lights out. GG's voice in the dark telling you the story of one of the most pivotal moments in American History, the assassination of an American President and LBJ's rise to the peak of political power. This is LBJ at his most admirable.
What's the presidency for?
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
I must say I really didn't know what to expect when delving into this monumental piece of work. However, after researching the reviews and having toured the Johnson Ranch plus living in Austin, it seemed somewhat essential to read.
Caro is the unrivaled master of weaving the minutia into a grand tapestry. He never fails to set the historical stage for each moment of Johnson's career, and that's never more important than it is in the year's covered in this book -- 1960 to 1964 -- the years he lost to John F. Kennedy in the Democratic primary, became his running mate in the 1960 general election, and then assumed power upon Kennedy's assassination in 1963. It's at that moment, the moment of the assassination, that this book truly hits its stride.
I recommend if you're randomly searching for a biography. I'm currently starting the first book in this series now.
Biography as every author ought to read. History as well as art. All of this series is essential if one wants to know what Johnson was.
Grover Gardner is simply the best narrator working today. He has brought to life all four volumes of the LBJ series by Robert Caro. No one is better.
Compelling story of America as seen through the remarkable career of that complicated
political figure, Lyndon Johnson. Given changes in publications today, we may never again see a series like this that has taken Robert Caro close to 40 years to research and write, with on final volume to come
This book provides amazing insights to the individuals and workings of our national political system in the late 1950's- 60's. It is not pretty but it is honest. The contradictions within LBJ are beyond imagination. A powerful political leader as we do not see today, but a human figure with failings as well as strengths. I am looking forward to the next book.
I must admit that I am not a great fan of Lyndon B. Johnson-especially since I place great blame on him for the Vietnam war. That being said, upon finishing this book I acquired a great deal of respect for President Johnson- especially in light of the way he handled himself during the time period that is covered in this book. The humiliation that he faced while serving as Vice President and his ability to hold up to being ostracized by the Kennedy White House inner circle during the Kennedy Administration are very well portrayed in this book- and have in part changed my opinion of him. But my greatest respect for him is reserved for the way in which he almost single handedly pushed through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As he always does, the author does a great job in describing and analyzing all of the events from Johnson's election as Vice President to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Grover Gardner does a great job (as he almost always does) narrating the book. I am really looking forward to his next volume on Johnson's life.
This book is well worth the listen.
I read this after reading "Master of the Senate" because I was hooked on Caro's analysis of power--it's acquisition, it's manipulation, and what happens when a leader no longer has power. "Master of the Senate" was about how LBJ transformed what used to be considered a nothing job--Senate majority leader--into a bastion of power. It's a wonderful description of how--and why--he then used all of his talents at manipulating his power to pass the 1957 Civil Rights Act. In "The Passage of Power," LBJ has become JFK's vice president--a position with no power under which he chafes, until he is suddenly elevated to power by the assassination. And it gives fascinating insights into the LBJ-RFK feud. I can't wait for Caro's next volume in the series on the Vietnam War. I only wish the first two volumes of the series were available in an Audible format.
And speaking of Audible, I can't imagine a better narrator that Grover Gardner. He narrated both "Master of the Senate" and "The Passage of Power" superbly. I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to other books he's narrated. And I hope that if they do decide to record the first two books of Caro's LBJ series, that they pick Gardner to read them.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Passage of Power is one volume in the 4 volume set by Caro on LBJ. This volume focuses on the end of LBJ during the JFK administration and the the 5 years LBJ was President. The blood fude of Bobby Kennedy and LBJ comes through loud and clear as well as the plummeting approval rating he endured due to the malaise of the Vietnam War. The story of a man put out to pasture basically during his years as Vice President with little to no influence to his glory days as President. Crude and ruthless at times but he was the president who allowed African Americans their first opportunity to enter the voting booth.
LBJ is a charismatic character whether he is liked or not.
The deep hatred between Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy was shocking in its depth, intensity, and bitterness.
Several scenes at the Los Angeles Democratic convention in 1960 between then Presidential nominee John Kennedy and Johnson. Kennedy wanted Johnson whether to help carry Texas or simply to have Johnson removed as senate majority leader. Was the choice Kennedy's dad? Bobby Kennedy was appalled by the choice trying his best to removed Colonel Cornpone from the ticket.
Yes, if it were at all possible I would have.
Robert Caro has me anxiously awaiting the future LBJ vollume(s).
The author, Caro, alludes to Shakespearian tragedy in this analysis of power – flawed characters play out the repercussions of JFK’s assassination. Mere humans are required to have the perfection of Greek Gods in a background of global nuclear threat. After all, it had only been the year since the Cuban Crisis, and 13 years since MacArthur urged Truman to use nuclear force in Korea.
And, speaking of Truman. Caro argues that LBJ took power at a uniquely difficult time in history. But I think he understates Truman’s situation, taking over during a World War and deciding to use nuclear force to end the war.
Anyway, regardless, Johnson’s task was herculean. This contrasted with the reality of small human thinking as exemplified in the influential feud between Robert Kennedy and LBJ. Caro constructs a picture of LBJ’s vulnerabilities, and their causes. How frustrating (what an understatement!) to find that LBJ couldn't immediately transcend them upon becoming president. He was actually thinking that Robert Kennedy might be undermining him when the poor man would have been overwhelmed by shock and grief. On the other hand, LBJ did get to work immediately with very clear concepts of maintaining domestic and global stability and focused on continuity with the JFK administration. But first things first: he needed to be photographed taking the oath with Mrs Kennedy standing next to him to legitimise his ascension -- strategic thinking indeed.
Caro argues that LBJ was largely selected as Vice President to bring the southern vote and thereafter was significantly sidelined by the Kennedy administration. As a result, he was deeply frustrated by having no role, all his very considerable skills (notably in legislation) were unused, and he was a bored, overweight, unhappy man. So when he was called into action he was fulfilling his presidential aspirations but had to plead for help from the Kennedy teams because he simply did not know what was going on. Not only did he want to be an authentic leader, but also wanted to enact legislation that would lead to a more liberal society.
I felt Caro over explained LBJ. I was unimpressed by the argument that key personality traits resulted in disappointment for his father’s perceived ‘failures’ and how he aspired never to be like him and dreaded being so despised and rejected by society when forced into a life of supposed poverty and deprivation. I personally found LBJ’s filial disloyalty and complete lack of understanding abhorrent. Again, Caro praises him for his immediately clear minded response to leadership. But LBJ had been a soldier, (unheroic) and deaths in the field demand continuity and discipline. Of course he should react as he did – that was his job -- the VP was the nation’s life insurance to ensure leadership.
Furthermore,LBJ was a manipulative bully ( tears, gushing with compliments, delivering an unblinking stare). Unresolved question: was his authoritarian approach appropriate for this moment of history?
This book is full of the foibles of humanity. If the task of the historian is to draw lessons from the past, many lessons are offered in this pivotal moment in US and world history.
When the book ended with masterful and authoritative flourishes, I rather felt as if I had been reading Homer. The Greek gods decreed whether people and civilisations lived or died -- mere humans in power had the option to please or defy them. The rest of humanity was just, well, an adjunct to the Big Games.
All in all, a fascinating history, masterfully read by Grover Gardner who applies appropriate gravitas coupled with a lack of sentimentality.