This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.
In this book, we are brought as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process. Means of Ascent, Book Two of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, was a number-one national best seller and, like The Path to Power, received the National Book Critics Circle Award.
©1981, 1982 Robert A. Caro, Inc. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
It's hard to imagine a better book. I was so enamored with Master and Passage that I listened to them twice. The first 120 pages of Master should be required reading in high school classes.
Mr Gardner is the one and only narrator who makes this work. Perfect timing, perfect voice.
I literately waited 10 years for Caro/Gardner to make this happen and I'm thrilled they did it. I've listened to over 200 audio books and the Caro/Gardner combo is unsurpassed. "5 star" stuff is easy to think but this one makes it true.
This is a fascinating story of a complex and conflicted man. Does an excellent job of describing Johnson's early life without resorting to pop psychology. Johnson is a much more interesting character than I had previously suspected and this series fills a hole in my understanding of the man and his times.
My only criticism is that there is far too much overlap between this book and the next in the series Means of Ascent. Both are very worthy books on their own, but it felt like perhaps 20% of Means of Ascent is directly copied from this book. Same stories, same wording. It seems as though Robert Caro literally copied and pasted big sections into the 2nd book. Still very worthwhile, but the 2nd book becomes tedious in this regard. I am saving a lower rating for the 2nd book because of this.
Grover Gardner is one of my all time favorite readers. This book is no exception.
This book demonstrates that a persons life is a combination of his family upbringing, his environment, his drive to succeed, AND that incalculable factor of LUCK, things happening at a time that will benefit or hurt one's life journey.
The author examines not only the person, but his parents AND their parents. He brings out the flavor of the poor hill country of Texas and the people who tried to survive in a hostile environment.
Very easy to listen to his expressive mellow voice
Incredibly detailed story of the making of a remarkable leader.
I cant wait for someone to make a movie of this book.Absolutely riviting tale of a man coming from nowhere, with a childhood that seemed to lead to a life of physical toil to a man who is acnolodged to be a great president of the U.S.
The first of 4 comprehensive works (with a fifth to come) on the topic, this may be one of the most compelling biographies on any American president - and it's certainly the go-to source for the life of Lyndon Johnson. Grover Gardner's perfect narration makes for a listen that is as entertaining as it is enlightening.
The intricate stories of a family's psychology and the intimate histories of their lives.
Clearly understood the rhythms and intentions of the writing, the irony and the intelligence.
The life and personality of LBJ's father is fascinating.
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
Some time ago I listened to the last ( so far) in this series "Passage to Power". THAT is a good book! So much so, I always had in the back in my mind to listen to the others. But- 60-120 hours or whatever it will end up being??? However, Gardner is superb as an narrator ( I've listened to him multiple times) so for my New Years resolution I thought I would undertake. The first book goes only to 1941, Johnson's term as a congressman, and I was apprehensive - 40 hours just to get that far? Well - it was fascinating. Every step of the way. Deeper and more compelling than the majority ( if not all) of biographies I have read, and I read this genre a lot.
I cannot speak highly enough of the combination of Caro/Gardner. I have immediately downloaded Book 2 without hesitation
It is a long haul, but thoroughly enjoyable so far.
Riveting, dramatic, instructive. The story really is riveting. The initial description of the Hill Country in Texas is so fantastic, petic, dramatic, revealing, evocative, and rich, that I have gone back several times to listen to it . And I will do so again.
The description of Lyndon's childhood, his fathers travails, rise, and demise and the effect on the family and the boy, are utterly unmatched in contrast and drama. Finally, the way Lyndon copes with it all, using his bright and dark sides to get ahead, ingeniously in both, is very instructive. I believe one can learn as much if not more from the 80% successes than the 100% successes, because their moral or other failings make them come alive more and even a sleazy scheme should be learned from, in that it took drive and courage to perform it, and THAT is never a bad trait to have.
Mr. Sam, Lyndon's dad, is a very powerful and tragic figure and as he falls from grace, and we witness it by painstaking degrees, we develop a love for this character that makes us think of him long after the book is done. I find myself wondering what would have happened if he hadn't done that last unadvisable thing, made that last unsound investment....could he have swung back from failure?...
I won't give away the plot by giving a thorough description. It feels like a novel eventhough it isn't..so I know it's silly but I think you should have the pleasure of discovering it yourself.
Lyndon was courting a young lady and her dad didn't think Lyndon a suitable husband for his daughter. the way he tried to humiliate Lyndon is very dramatic. And the way Lyndon got back at him and the family years later, even more so.
It made my eyes go wide and it made me shake my head and it moved me.
Totally get this, you won't regret it! Also, read The Power Broker
It's up there
So well researched, so well written.
Ha, no - one might die.
Never hated a main character in a biography so much, but can't turn away from the train wreck. Now on to part II!
I'm a historical junkie and this is one of the best books ever written. It's very entertaining and full of the right detail of information. Too many history books are written for academics and are very boring. I disagree with LBJs politics, but this book is fascinating, the left and the right should find this a must read.
I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.
Remarkable. I won't say it reads (sounds) like a novel because it is history, good history. But it draws you in like a novel and is as well-written as a good novel. It is not just a biography of Johnson, it is a biography of a time and a place. And it is drawn so vividly that one feels anxieties about the outcome of events that were long ago decided.
Being a resident of the Texas Hill Country, I'm always seeking to learn more about the history of this great area. Not only is LBJ the main subject, but topics such as the challenges of early hill country life are highlighted as well. Reflecting on those moments, one can't help but have respect for those that came to the area with just a wagon in tow.
Caro writes in a way that makes you remember the subject, and combine that with Grover Gardner (narrator) telling the story, you've got yourself a perfect combination.
While this audiobook is quite long, it's best to treat it like a fine bourbon...sip...not gulp.
"Makes politics utterly compelling"
Absolutely: it casts an extraordinary light on the whole period of the late 50s and early 60s, through its focus on Lyndon Johnson's troubled journey to the Presidency of the USA, and it does so in an utterly compelling way.
It is Shakesperian in its focus on the hunger for power, and the emotions that go with the struggle to achieve it.
Never listened to this reader before, but I think he is superb for the demands of this very, very long book.
The Desire for Power
I now look forward to reading the other volumes of Caro's biography of LBJ.
"LBJ dissected by Caro"
Robert A. Caro’s detailed biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, up to his loss of the 1941 senatorial election is also a social history of Texas as it evolved during Johnson’s life. Through interviews with associates and relatives of this secretive man, Caro has built up a picture, which though not pretty, is absolutely fascinating. Thorough research has provided conclusive evidence of LBJ’s relentless pursuit of his goals - ultimately the presidency of the United States, though this part of the bio does not take us so far. The description of Texas itself is integral to the narrative. This is no dry biography, but a complete picture of the man, the landscape that shaped him and the society he helped to shape. The vivid recreations of personal interactions evoke a strong, if not always likeable personality. Caro’s intelligent reading ensures enjoyment of the listening experience. I was surprised at how I was impelled to listen at every available opportunity until I had finished this lengthy political analysis.
"The epic story of LBJ's early years"
Excellently narrated by Grover Gardner who handles Caro's amazing prose perfectly.
Master of the senate, the passage of power
The detailed account of Johnson first campaign for the congress
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