Not historically a reader of, or particularly knowledgeable about, American history, I read an excerpt of this book that appeared in the New Yorker. It was riveting.
And now I can say the rest of the story is equally so. This may be my favorite audio book yet, not to mention one of the best books of any genre I've encountered recently.It is almost incomprehensible that so detailed an account of such a short period of time (this volume focuses mainly on a period lasting a mere seven months) could be so deeply engrossing.
While listening to it, everything else in my life became just time I was NOT spending listening. It blew my mind.
Mr. Gardner, the narrator, gave a flawless, pitch-perfect performance.
I feel better off for having experienced this book, and fully intend to devour everything else by Robert Caro that Audible has to offer.
This is the story of the relationship between LBJ and the Kennedys. LBJ was Texan with a straight forward personality who was brought up from poverty, knew what he wanted, and got it. The Kennedys, born into wealth and prestige, never had to work a day in their lives, with no real focus or overarching goals. If the Kennedys had enlisted the help of LBJ rather than to exhile him from the administration, perhaps JFK's presidency could have been monumental. But the Kennedys were too arrogant to ask for help from Rufus Cornpone. JFK is probably one of the least accomplished presidents of our time, although his loyalists went forth to write book after book, to establish the Kennedy mantra, to synthesize the history of Kennedy for the poor and downtrodden. LBJ is obsessed with civil rights and helping the poor, as a consequence of his upbringing in poor rural Texas. He accomplished more in the 11 days after the assassination than the entire Kennedy presidency. The Kennedys squandered their power on petty hates such as trying to pin something on Hoffa, or assassination plots and coups. RFK says during LBJ period of success with Great Society that it is all the work of JFK. JFK just didnt have enough time. There is a lot here I never heard before. LBJ bringing foreign dignitaries to his ranch to eat spare ribs with no silverware. LBJ, who was in such a manic state after the assassination, that he has to have a cabinet member stay with him until he falls asleep, calling him back several times "I am not asleep yet". The political mechanics of the 1960 nomination explained, as well as how LBJ gets a bill through congress (1964 tax cut bill). What is left out here is Vietnam, because that is the subject of the next book. I was surprised how little was said about Vietnam, especially given that much of the history of the late 60's in Vietnam stems from JFK decisions and involvement in the coup to topple Diem. Absolutely enthralling.
Its hard to imagine a more absorbing, detail rich, thorough and compelling work of biography and history. Robert Caro takes his time in getting his writing out but it is well worth the wait. The examination of Lyndon Johnson as a politician and complex human being and the impact of his earlier life experiences on his decision making and relationships with other major political figures, particularly Robert Kennedy is masterly. I was inspired to re-read his earlier books in this series. I noticed some one star ratings for this book and can't imagine how that could have happened. I can't wait for the final installment in this series. It doesn't get any better.
Middlemarch, Middlesex, Middlebrow
Caro continues his LBJ saga with even greater scope as the Man attains supreme power, but none of the detail and texture is lost. The writing is repetitive and can verge on bombast, but this is still biography at its very finest and great literature by any standard.
and how corrupt he was and how corrupt politics is all around. You will hate what you hear but you will learn a good deal!!!! try it!
This is a brilliant picture, compelling in its historical detail, of the complexity of a deeply flawed hero at a pivotal moment in American history and, for those of us who remember, many of our own lives. I am frankly awed by the author's ability to be so close to his subject while maintaining the perspective of distance. The narration was perfectly attuned to this, a voice with the cadence of Cronkite to complement the memories of those troubled times.
This is an outstanding biography of a fascinating, complex, and important President. Caro is objective and avoids the "hero" worship that other biographers sometimes fall into.
Passage of Power is riviting and almost unbelievable covers in great detail about LBJ and how he got great things done , Extra bonus is the detail about JFK, assassination , Robert and workings or non working of Congress. Could not put book down. Highly recommended
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 really enjoy Audible and the great choice of books. I like true stories, good mysteries, and books about life events.
I read this book only because it was a selection for our book club, it is something I would never have chosen.
In my opinion the advantage of a book club is it get me to read books i would otherwise have missed.
Passage of Power is a book I am glad I did not miss, the story was very interesting, LBJ was an extremely interesting and knowledgable person. In addition, he did have a "dark side", which after reading this book I realized must exist to get anything accomplished.
The working of our government while certainly the best of anywhere are still flawed, I believe even tho the time period of this book was the mid 60's, the same mixed rules still apply today in the everyday function of our political system.
While the author spent much time on explanations and used many words, which some folks may find unnecessary, I felt they made me better understand what was happening.
Passage of Power is a book a really enjoyed and I found interesting as well as educational, I will be reading more books of this type in the future.
In closing, the book is very long (32 hours) I do not think you will get bored and you will certainly feel your dollars were well spent.