Although the cast of characters is large, the care for detail taken by Caro paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of their behavior and their motivations. One senses that Caro carefully weighed each bit of historical information to see what political prism was used in its writing and thereby divines a balanced truth about the events. Since much has been written about those times, and since we are talking about politics, it would have been very easy for Caro to buy into the writings of respected historians and the spin with which they were written. Instead, he takes pains to document a true picture in a way that makes him stand a cut above other historians. It is a big book and is indeed filled with detail but it he still manages to make it exciting.
Yes, it's a fascinating read. I was reading it for a bookclub & really didn't think I was going to be that interested in it. But, it's really made history come alive... and a reminder of how very human politicians are.... and what happens when personalities become more important than principles.
This is an excellent addition to Robert Caro’s magisterial biography of Lyndon Johnson. The combination of drama, character study and political detail makes this totally engrossing. I can’t wait for the next volume.
While Caro’s account of the assassination has received considerable attention, I found that his description of Johnson’s consolidation of power afterwards to be equally, if not more, compelling. The account of his working Congress to pass the landmark civil rights bill and other social bills of the War on Poverty keeps the reader (listener) on the edge of his seat. The specter of Vietnam haunts the text.
Mustering Congressional support to pass the civil rights bill.
Grover Gardner gets this one just right.
This book covers the end of Johnson's career as Senate Majority leader, his failed run for the presidency, Johnson's vice-presidency & his transition post-assassination to the presidency.
Johnson was a very complicated man - corrupt, pragmatic, a bully, a brilliant strategist, and ultimately the individual responsible for some of the greatest civil rights & social service legislation this country has ever seen.
The author takes you through an incredibly turbulent period in LBJ's career and makes you care so much about this man who is easy to loathe at times.
Grover Gardiner is excellent as a reader - great performance.
I enjoyed all 30+ hours of this magnificent book - it was compelling material and the narrator's style was engaging. Highest recommendation.
As in the rest of the series, Caro pulls out a lot of detail. That detail, combined with the drama of the period...the suspense of the impending Kennedy assassination while an investigation of Johnson's finances gains momentum and Johnson is exiled from the Kennedy administration, the great ironies in Johnson's accomplishments early in his presidency and the methods he used to get them, and the drama of the bitter LBJ/RFK relationship all make this the best of the Caro series and one of the best history books I have ever read.
The Passage to Power is a fascinating review of a period of history that most Americans, of a certain age, remember vividly. It is a history of Johnson and the Kennedys at their best and at their worst.
There have been MANY book written about this period and MANY books written about the Kennedys and about Lyndon Johnson this book does it as well as any I have read.
Very well written, factual and deeply engaging history. Made me long for the endless traffic jams and lost hours of my commute just so I could get back into the drama.
Grover Gardner did his usual impeccable job of narration, but had one howler repeated several times. Referring to a group of cattle, he pronounced "Hereford heifers" as "HAIRY-ford HIGH-fers." Down on the LBJ Ranch they would say "HUR-ford HEFF-ers." This is not the strongest book in the series; I hope Robert Caro is not wearing out. He dismisses Johnson's possible involvement in either the JFK assassination or the subsequent cover-up in a couple of paragraphs, although the first section of the book provides Johnson with a surfeit of motive, consiglieri Ed Clark could have provided the means, and what better opportunity than a motorcade on Johnson's home turf to "take care of business"? Caro has done detailed research on Johnson's high crimes and misdemeanors (mainly extortion, influence-peddling, and fraud in this volume), but nonetheless adopts a hagiographic tone when referring to Johnson's legislative efforts on behalf of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For the first time in the series, Caro steps out of his role as impartial historian and acknowledges his own political views, writing with fervent approval of Johnson's Great Society programs and the "institutionalization of compassion" (an oxymoronic phrase if ever there was one). Still packed with fascinating details and a host of minutiae on Johnson and his era, this book suffers from an excessive focus on raw policy rather than the personalities and events that influenced policy. The Vietnam fiasco and Johnson's micro-mismanagement of the war should provide more spice in the next volume than the dry legislative issues in this one. I hope Robert Caro can hold on and hold out. He is 76 this year and looks every bit his age in recent photographs. These books are a monumental work and I hope Caro can complete the series and cement his legacy as the greatest biographer of our time.
The length of this book may be off-putting to some readers, but once you start reading it, you will find it to be as compelling as anything you have ever read. So many biographies are dry affairs that feel like homework, but Caro has written a page turner! I lived though all of this history, but Robert Caro brings it the era alive like nothing I have ever read before. The previous books were great also, but this covers one of the most fascinating times in the history of the United States. A beloved president assassinated in Dallas, with a man who was reviled in the White House for the previous 3 years assuming the mantle of leadership. Caro's depth of analysis, and ability to provide new insight into the time is like nothing I have ever read before.