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.
High school American history teacher from Texas
I'm not sure if the audio really enhanced the experience, but the smooth writing style and great stories made this a pleasure from start to finish.
JFK: An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek. That's another great Presidential biography covering roughly the same time period.
Being true to Caro's intent in his writing.
No. It's too long for that.
learning about that period of our history
Lyndon because it was about him
after the shooting
Great review of that period of our history
I would have edited it more and tightened up the chain of events..
The hostility of the Kennedy's with LBJ..
Yes, but only if you were young and didn't know any of this history..
It is excellently written, with perfect grammar... In this day, that
is an accomplishment in and of itself...
Almost every book I have listened to are filled with mispronunciations.
I am always wondering what the authors think of it..Don't they ever
listen to their, "Book On Tape?"
Its masterful storytelling of the time in history it covers.
How LBJ responded to the challenge of suddenly assuming power and needing to build a legislative record in so little time.
Robert Caro has done a masterful job of researching and documenting LBJ's life and you hear it with the feeling that it all is absolutely true. This is the man, warts and all -- lots of warts. There is much to dislike about LBJ but he was remarkably capable and could accomplish almost any task, and did.
Hi! I'm Casey Keller, semi-retired TV writer, avid cyclist, husband and father. I'm also a guy who devours audio books.
If you know anything about current books, you know that this book is brilliant and well worth your time. It's one of most important books of the year. The New York Times rave review was written by Bill Clinton.
But something must be said about Grover Gardner's mastery of the English language. It's missing. It's not that he's a bad reader. In fact he would be pretty good if it weren't for one thing... The man is constantly, annoyingly and distractingly mispronouncing words.
Mr. Gardner needs a producer or a director... someone who can tell him to take a moment and check the pronunciation of the words he's reading.
A quick search of Audible reveals Mr. Gardner's name on 285 titles. That's thousands of hours of recordings. Perhaps he's too busy recording books to check pronunciations. Perhaps Audible has kept him so busy that he hasn't slept in 12 years and can't concentrate. Perhaps he records books in his sleep.
My point is not to attack Mr. Gardner, but rather that a brilliant and important book... a publishing event if you will, like The Passage Of Power deserves a lot more care taken with its audio version. We would certainly not be pleased with this book if it were filled with mis-spellings and typographical errors. Grover Gardner's mispronunciations are the audible equivalent.
LBJ like all Presidents had an ego. He also had self discipline and endured quite a bit of mishandling by the JFK administration. Politics being what it is most of learn at some point to be careful how we treat people and who's toes we step on as one day those toes may be connected to someone we work for.
As much press as JFK has gotten through history it was LBJ in the end that really pushed the whole Civil Rights advances through Congress and changed history. One thing this story makes very clear is that RFK was a definite antagonists.
For people reading this who lived through these times there is a fine line where current events become history. Robert Caro's book makes the transition and is a testament to the times. Five Stars!
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