Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2003
National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2002Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius, cajoling and threatening both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives, to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction. Brilliantly weaving rich detail into a gripping narrative, Caro gives us both a galvanizing portrait of Johnson himself and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings of legislative power.
©2002 Robert A. Caro, Inc.; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Mesmerizing....A tale rife with drama and hypnotic in the telling." (Newsweek)
"A panoramic study....Combining the best techniques of investigative reporting with majestic storytelling ability, Caro has created a vivid, revelatory institutional history as well as a rich hologram of Johnson's character." (The New York Times)
"Caro must be America's greatest living Presidential biographer....No other contemporary biographer offers such a complex picture of the forces driving an American politician, or populates his work with such vividly drawn secondary characters." (BusinessWeek)
Unfortunate that Audible broke this title into 3 parts to make money even though all the other volumes in the series about LBJ are all one audiobook.
One way around this is to get the kindle version, then get whisper sync audio of the book at reduced price for the whole book!!
I have listened to all three volumes of Master of the Senate, and this review is for the whole thing. These books are terrific. Robert Caro has such a great feel for when to put in background information, and how much. It's a book about people as much as policies. I was glad another reviewer warned me about the long discourse on the history of the Senate at the beginning of the book, though, because I would have been wondering if I had the right book. But the history sets the scene, and Caro makes the history lesson extremely accessible and fascinating. Lyndon Johnson defies summarization in a paragraph, and I won't even try.No wonder Robert Caro couldn't do it in just one book. Caro gets down to the nitty-gritty of LBJ, every aspect of the man. If you are only going to read one book of Caro's, though (they're big!), I would read Passage of Power, which is the next one in the series, and is epic.
As an Aussie, I knew very little about LBJ but I had heard these Caro books were brilliant. How right that is. I particularly appreciated the depth of the background in the history and working of the US senate and Caro's portrayal of this complex and flawed man is unflinching and compelling. I highly recommend it for anyone, but for any politics tragic, it's an absolute must. Seven stars.
I'm a history buff. This book gives a masterful history of the US Senate from the before the Civil War to the years of Lyndon Johnson's work there. At first, I felt annoyed at the length of the overview, then if occurred to me that Mr. Caro was giving the history of a very dysfunctional organization. It showed how Lyndon Johnson slipped into power, using this staggering dysfunction. It was all very interesting.
There isn't really ONE moment. The book illustrates Johnson's breathtaking ruthlessness as a politician.OK, one moment. After WWII 75% of the American people wanted civil rights for blacks in the South. The source for this statistic wasn't cited in the book but there might be a bibliography in the paper book, that sites the source. 75%... and the southern democrats blocked it, wouldn't let it happen, and Lyndon Johnson was one of them. To me, he was not only ruthless, but his action was evil.
Mr. Gardner has a pleasing tenor voice. I enjoy listening to his narration.
No, I like absorbing information and stewing in it before going onto the next section. This book is very well researched.
If you like history and biography, this book is very well done and very interesting. I've had it for over a year and hadn't gotten around to listening to it. I'm sorry it took me so long.
Caro's ability to portray Power epically, systematically and with humor.
The story of a crude, morally-unchallenged person, with an equally unchallenged sense of power.
A sense of listening to a superb story teller, as I drive. I look forward to more driving in order to continue Gardner's reading of the story.
If you're prepared to pay, I'll think about it seriously.
Man it's long, but when it was over, I felt like I was losing an old friend. Good thing Passage of Power was next in the queue. :)
Caro is brilliant. He does an excellent job of weaving in specific themes without being overbearing or redundant. As soon as I get another six months to commit to a book, I plan to dig into his book on Bob Moses.
The most striking biography I've listened to/read. It presents a brilliant nuanced picture of perhaps the most brillant, contradictory politician in American history. Caro has an incredible knowledge and understanding of LBJ and his time period. He also writes grandly and beautifully.
Fascinating, masterful, informative
Beautifully written, detailed painstaking research, enhanced my knowledge of US political system and role played by individuals. Deep insight into personalities, ambitions, motivations and human story behind major events.
Language Arts teacher
It seemed for too many of its early hour an extensive and dull history of the Senate, offering little mention or insight into the character of Lyndon Johnson.
The crafty political machinations of Johnson as a manipulator/legislator.
Unimpassionately matter of fact
Only the last half. The first part was a dull history of the Senate that as a preface to Johnson's time in the Senate was left unconnected.
The details of Johnson early political life and the way the politics was conducted in the senate
Would like to see the earlier volumes of this biography on Audible
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