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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson | [Robert A. Caro]

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle Award, Biography, 2013

The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

For the first time, we see the Kennedy assassination through Lyndon Johnson’s eyes. We watch Johnson step into the presidency, inheriting a staff fiercely loyal to his slain predecessor; a Congress determined to retain its power over the executive branch; and a nation in shock and mourning. We see how within weeks - grasping the reins of the presidency with supreme mastery - he propels through Congress essential legislation that at the time of Kennedy’s death seemed hopelessly logjammed and seizes on a dormant Kennedy program to create the revolutionary War on Poverty.

Caro makes clear how the political genius with which Johnson had ruled the Senate now enabled him to make the presidency wholly his own. This was without doubt Johnson’s finest hour, before his aspirations and accomplishments were overshadowed and eroded by the trap of Vietnam.

It is an epic story told with a depth of detail possible only through the peerless research that forms the foundation of Robert Caro’s work, confirming Nicholas von Hoffman’s verdict that “Caro has changed the art of political biography.”

©2012 Robert A. Caro (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    C. Hale Texas 08-06-12
    C. Hale Texas 08-06-12

    Amaw

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    "Caro and Gardner are a great team!"
    If you could sum up The Passage of Power in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting researched powerful


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    LBJ. Being a Texan child when LBJ came into the presidency, my interest in what drives powerful men led me naturally to be drawn to reading about LBJ. Caro has done a excellent job of in depth research on his subject. I will always have my eye out for any book he chooses to write. Gardner just completes the package with his voice.


    Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. Love his voice and smooth cadence.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It's way too long for me to stay awake that long, but I have listened to this book over and over ....and will again and again...


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mitchell CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, US 06-12-12
    mitchell CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, US 06-12-12 Member Since 2006
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    "A thoroughly enjoyable listen and insight into LBJ"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    An excellent insight into an important person in history and his relationship with the Kennedy's.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The book is very long and we listen on long, long drives. Therefore I have time to do other things as well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Insights into American political history: how the legislature works


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent follow-up to Master of the Senate.
    After listening to interview of the author by Charlie Rose, mt question is "Why was Ina, Robert's wife not a co-author?"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BB APO, AE, United States 06-11-12
    BB APO, AE, United States 06-11-12 Member Since 2007

    Editor, www.neglectedbooks.com

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    "Caro's magnificent biography continues"

    Grover Gardner has been the perfect narrator throughout this series and this volume is no exception. This book covers Johnson's ambivalent attempt at running for the Presidency in 1960, his years of frustration as Vice President (going from the second most powerful man in Washington to being mocked by Kennedy staffers as "Rufus Cornpone"), and then his remarkable success in the months following Kennedy's assassination. For those who have followed Johnson through over two thousand pages of Caro's biography up to this point, the last two hundred pages serve as testament to the fact that this truly was a great man, if also a greatly flawed one. I listened to this immediately after finishing Caro's "The Power Broker," and one can see how Caro has matured as a writer. Both books are richly detailed portraits, but now Caro's viewpoint is far more nuanced and balanced. Even his sketches of John and Robert Kennedy demonstrate that Caro's greatest strength is his ability to reveal a man's character in depth--the good and the bad--without giving into the temptation to reduce it to a simplistic summary judgment. Yes, this is a long book that requires patience and commitment from a reader or listener, but I consider it one of those books that has profoundly enriched my life. May Caro live to finish this masterpiece!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tp Atlanta, GA, United States 06-07-12
    Tp Atlanta, GA, United States 06-07-12 Member Since 2003
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    "What they should teach you about LBJ in school"
    Any additional comments?

    Caro delivers again. This volume focuses on period beginning in the months leading up to LBJ's selection as Vice President through the election of 1964. While the detours into the lives of John and Bobby Kennedy are sometimes long, they are very valuable in setting the context for how the personalities of the men shaped their interaction with Johnson. History burnished JFK's Camelot with the sweat LBJ put into passing Kennedy's programs after the assasination. Fascinating human drama in one of the most historically significant American decades in the 20th Century.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan ny, NY, United States 06-05-12
    Jonathan ny, NY, United States 06-05-12
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    "Great book. Where is the rest???"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Bob Caro is the most thorough biographer I have read. Many mini bios within this extensive volume. I read this after The Power Broker. Cant get enough.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    LBJ rocks


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Grover Gardner?

    Sure. Very clearly read book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    assasination.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to all 4 parts. The last part did not seem like the end of the book but rather the end to a part. Does anyone else have a thought on this????

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    george d. calkins 05-03-12 Member Since 2011

    i am a mediator/private judge. i have two grown children and four grand children. i read biography, history, detective fiction and suspense books in great numbers. i have listened to 1,500 books here on audible.

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    "captivating study of LBJ and RFK"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Passage of Power to be better than the print version?

    audio is very good. have not read print


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Passage of Power?

    the segments as to RFK personality.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    he is the only reader who could do this book. the equal of his work on "Truman"


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    impossible, although good on a long drive to Mmmoth fromLA.


    Any additional comments?

    solid addition to his earlier books on LBJ

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHESTER LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-09-14
    CHESTER LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2007

    Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.

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    "POWER & COMPROMISE"

    Though Robert Caro’s advancing years may make him seem like a ghost writer for Plutarch, he continues to turn out the best biographies being written in the 21st century. After reading “The Power Broker” (published in 1974 about Robert Moses and land planning in New York), one becomes witness to the power of Caro’s research and dramatic skill in reporting on post-20th-century American’ movers and shakers. His next project, after “The Power Broker” became Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.

    A left-wing liberal says Obama compromises too much while a right-wing conservative says Obama does not compromise at all; neither is correct. Extreme positions are rarely correct. The life and times of Lyndon Johnson are not unlike the life and times of Barrack Obama. The concern is that President Obama, though extremely persuasive, does not have the congressional’ experience that gave Lyndon Johnson the wisdom, and a “stick”, that could make Congress act.

    Robert Caro’s book, “The Passage of Power”, is a lesson in history that offers insight to governing America today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Kuvinka 05-02-14 Member Since 2009
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    "What's the Presidency for?"
    Would you listen to The Passage of Power again? Why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Passage of Power to and why?

    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.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    What's the presidency for?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 04-22-14
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2011

    I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.

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    "Pleasantly Surprised"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Birmingham, AL, United States 02-14-14
    Lawrence Birmingham, AL, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Caro Is The Best"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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