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

The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (131 )
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4.8 (121 )
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  •  
    David C. Daggett Phoenix 12-14-13
    David C. Daggett Phoenix 12-14-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Best of all Biographies"
    Where does The Path to Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


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

    Mr Gardner is the one and only narrator who makes this work. Perfect timing, perfect voice.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Mangrum Black Oak, Arkansas USA 03-12-14
    Jim Mangrum Black Oak, Arkansas USA 03-12-14 Member Since 2007

    Jim Dandy

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    "Excellent"
    What made the experience of listening to The Path to Power the most enjoyable?

    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.


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

    Grover Gardner is one of my all time favorite readers. This book is no exception.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RANDALL JAFFE Arcadia Califonia 01-15-14
    RANDALL JAFFE Arcadia Califonia 01-15-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Biography I have heard, Reads like a novel."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    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.


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

    Very easy to listen to his expressive mellow voice


    If you could give The Path to Power a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Incredibly detailed story of the making of a remarkable leader.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David P. McGivern Vancouver, BC Canada 01-14-14
    David P. McGivern Vancouver, BC Canada 01-14-14 Member Since 2007

    retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "amazing"

    wow.

    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.

    Highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diana Oradell, NJ, United States 01-06-14
    diana Oradell, NJ, United States 01-06-14 Member Since 2010
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    "An impeccable biography"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Chappaqua, NY, United States 01-28-14
    Harry Chappaqua, NY, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Caro is the Best"
    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The intricate stories of a family's psychology and the intimate histories of their lives.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Clearly understood the rhythms and intentions of the writing, the irony and the intelligence.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The life and personality of LBJ's father is fascinating.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 07-07-14
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 07-07-14 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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    "Exceptional Piece of Work"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 06-19-14
    Brian 06-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent biography, excellent narration"
    Where does The Path to Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's up there


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    So well researched, so well written.


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

    Nope


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

    Ha, no - one might die.


    Any additional comments?

    Never hated a main character in a biography so much, but can't turn away from the train wreck. Now on to part II!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Anderson seattle, WA Yankland 05-20-14
    R. Anderson seattle, WA Yankland 05-20-14 Member Since 2009

    rick

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    "One of the best historical book every written"
    Would you listen to The Path to Power again? Why?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Kuvinka 05-02-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Harry Potter of American Political History"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I liken it to "Harry Potter" in the very best sense. It grabs you and never lets go. Caro is the best. I know of no other serious biographer who writes this well and with this much narrative force. This is one of the two strongest books of the four volumes published to date. And all four of them are great. I congratulate Audible for finally getting around to releasing unabridged versions of volumes one and two, of which this is the first.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There are so many things to like. If I had to pick one, I'd say it would have to be the bringing of electricity to the Texas hill country and what life was like there before and after rural electrification.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    In Caro's books LBJ comes across as Shakespearean and larger than life. Readers will find much to admire and despise in this portrait.


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

    The relationship between LBJ and his father. LBJ goes from doting son who idolized his father to an adolescent who came, throughout his life, to view his father as an idealistic dreamer and determined, for himself, to be otherwise.


    Any additional comments?

    These books are essential reading for anyone at all interested in American political history and the acquisition and use of political power by a deeply flawed man who was also a political genius

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Chris
    7/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Makes politics utterly compelling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Path to Power to, and why?

    It is Shakesperian in its focus on the hunger for power, and the emotions that go with the struggle to achieve it.


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

    Never listened to this reader before, but I think he is superb for the demands of this very, very long book.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Desire for Power


    Any additional comments?

    I now look forward to reading the other volumes of Caro's biography of LBJ.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Brisbane, Australia
    3/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "LBJ dissected by Caro"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • michael Billington
    BELFAST
    12/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The epic story of LBJ's early years"
    What made the experience of listening to The Path to Power the most enjoyable?

    Excellently narrated by Grover Gardner who handles Caro's amazing prose perfectly.


    What other book might you compare The Path to Power to, and why?

    Master of the senate, the passage of power


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The detailed account of Johnson first campaign for the congress


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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