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The Passage of Power Audiobook

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

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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.

What Members Say

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  •  
    William Redding, CT, United States 09-17-12
    William Redding, CT, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Caro is a master in this genre. Wonderful!"

    Although the cast of characters is large, the care for detail taken by Caro paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of their behavior and their motivations. One senses that Caro carefully weighed each bit of historical information to see what political prism was used in its writing and thereby divines a balanced truth about the events. Since much has been written about those times, and since we are talking about politics, it would have been very easy for Caro to buy into the writings of respected historians and the spin with which they were written. Instead, he takes pains to document a true picture in a way that makes him stand a cut above other historians. It is a big book and is indeed filled with detail but it he still manages to make it exciting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MaRoo Texas, USA 09-14-12
    MaRoo Texas, USA 09-14-12
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    3
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    "History... Behind the Scene"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it's a fascinating read. I was reading it for a bookclub & really didn't think I was going to be that interested in it. But, it's really made history come alive... and a reminder of how very human politicians are.... and what happens when personalities become more important than principles.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kitty's doorman Davis, CA USA 09-03-12
    Kitty's doorman Davis, CA USA 09-03-12 Member Since 2015

    Davis CA

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    "Outstanding"
    What did you love best about The Passage of Power?

    This is an excellent addition to Robert Caro’s magisterial biography of Lyndon Johnson. The combination of drama, character study and political detail makes this totally engrossing. I can’t wait for the next volume.


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

    While Caro’s account of the assassination has received considerable attention, I found that his description of Johnson’s consolidation of power afterwards to be equally, if not more, compelling. The account of his working Congress to pass the landmark civil rights bill and other social bills of the War on Poverty keeps the reader (listener) on the edge of his seat. The specter of Vietnam haunts the text.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Mustering Congressional support to pass the civil rights bill.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both


    Any additional comments?

    Grover Gardner gets this one just right.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dee 08-26-12
    Dee 08-26-12
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    "Fascinating chapter in the political caree of LBJ"

    This book covers the end of Johnson's career as Senate Majority leader, his failed run for the presidency, Johnson's vice-presidency & his transition post-assassination to the presidency.

    Johnson was a very complicated man - corrupt, pragmatic, a bully, a brilliant strategist, and ultimately the individual responsible for some of the greatest civil rights & social service legislation this country has ever seen.

    The author takes you through an incredibly turbulent period in LBJ's career and makes you care so much about this man who is easy to loathe at times.

    Grover Gardiner is excellent as a reader - great performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Strayer 08-25-12
    P. Strayer 08-25-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Fantastic Epic"
    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed all 30+ hours of this magnificent book - it was compelling material and the narrator's style was engaging. Highest recommendation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arnold C. Macdonald 08-22-12 Member Since 2005
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    "5 stars not enough"
    What made the experience of listening to The Passage of Power the most enjoyable?

    As in the rest of the series, Caro pulls out a lot of detail. That detail, combined with the drama of the period...the suspense of the impending Kennedy assassination while an investigation of Johnson's finances gains momentum and Johnson is exiled from the Kennedy administration, the great ironies in Johnson's accomplishments early in his presidency and the methods he used to get them, and the drama of the bitter LBJ/RFK relationship all make this the best of the Caro series and one of the best history books I have ever read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth C. Sayre 08-20-12
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    "A riveting review of a flawed President"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The Passage to Power is a fascinating review of a period of history that most Americans, of a certain age, remember vividly. It is a history of Johnson and the Kennedys at their best and at their worst.


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

    There have been MANY book written about this period and MANY books written about the Kennedys and about Lyndon Johnson this book does it as well as any I have read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bob 08-20-12
    bob 08-20-12 Member Since 2016

    I have an excruciatingly long commute. Listening to books is about all that has kept me from falling into the abyss. History and bios only

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    "Outstanding portrait of a complex man"

    Very well written, factual and deeply engaging history. Made me long for the endless traffic jams and lost hours of my commute just so I could get back into the drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dataman 07-25-12
    Dataman 07-25-12

    Say something about yourself!

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    "It's Just a Shot Away."

    I would recommend reading the first 3 volumes of LBJ's senate years and then The Passage of Power. This volume describes his transition from the most powerful man in the Senate to the powerless Vice President of JFK.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Hall 07-22-12
    D. Hall 07-22-12 Member Since 2006

    Retired Reader

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    "Lyndon Johnson at his best"
    Where does The Passage of Power rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the better books about an American president. At times it tends to drag because the author goes into so much detail, but I had trouble putting it down, even though I was not a Johnson fan.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    LBJ. Now I appreciate his trials and tribulations.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Johnson's actions after the assassination of Kennedy were amazingly crafted.


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

    The same as the book title.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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