Your audiobook is waiting…

Master of the Senate

The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume III (Part 1 of a 3-Part Recording)
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Series: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Book 3.1
Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,427 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

 

Master of the Senate, audiobook three of the Years of Lyndon Johnson, carries Johnson’s story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. At the heart of the audiobook is its unprecedented revelation of how legislative power works in America, how the Senate works, and how Johnson, in his ascent to the presidency, mastered the Senate as no political leader before him had ever done. 

It was during these years that all Johnson’s experience - from his Texas Hill Country boyhood to his passionate representation in Congress of his hardscrabble constituents to his tireless construction of a political machine - came to fruition. Caro introduces the story with a dramatic account of the Senate itself: how Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun had made it the center of governmental energy, the forum in which the great issues of the country were thrashed out. And how, by the time Johnson arrived, it had dwindled into a body that merely responded to executive initiatives, all but impervious to the forces of change. 

Caro anatomizes the genius for political strategy and tactics by which, in an institution that had made the seniority system all-powerful for a century and more, Johnson became majority leader after only a single term - the youngest and greatest Senate leader in our history; how he manipulated the Senate’s hallowed rules and customs and the weaknesses and strengths of his colleagues to change the unchangeable Senate from a loose confederation of sovereign senators to a whirring legislative machine under his own iron-fisted control. 

Caro demonstrates how Johnson’s political genius enabled him to reconcile the unreconcilable: to retain the support of the Southerners who controlled the Senate while earning the trust - or at least the cooperation - of the liberals, led by Paul Douglas and Hubert Humphrey, without whom he could not achieve his goal of winning the presidency. He shows the dark side of Johnson’s ambition: how he proved his loyalty to the great oil barons who had financed his rise to power by ruthlessly destroying the career of the New Dealer who was in charge of regulating them, Federal Power Commission Chairman Leland Olds. And we watch him achieve the impossible: convincing Southerners that although he was firmly in their camp as the anointed successor to their leader, Richard Russell, it was essential that they allow him to make some progress toward civil rights. In a breathtaking tour de force, Caro details Johnson’s amazing triumph in maneuvering to passage the first civil rights legislation since 1875.   

Master of the Senate, told with an abundance of rich detail that could only have come from Caro’s peerless research, is both a galvanizing portrait of the man himself and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings and personal and legislative power.

This is Volume 1. Don't forget to listen to Master of the Senate, Volume 2 and Volume 3.
©2002 Robert A. Caro, Inc. (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A wonderful, a glorious tale.... It will be hard to equal this amazing book. It reads like a Trollope novel, but not even Trollope explored the ambitions and the gullibilities of men as deliciously as Robert Caro does. Even though I knew what the outcome of a particular episode would be, I followed Caro’s account of it with excitement. I went back over chapters to make sure I had not missed a word.... Caro’s description of how [Johnson passed the civil rights legislation] is masterly; I was there and followed the course of the legislation closely, but I did not know the half of it.” (Anthony Lewis, The New York Times Book Review

“A masterpiece.... Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.” (Daniel Finkelstein, The Times, London)   

“Mesmerizing.... [It] brings LBJ blazing into the Senate.... A tale rife with drama and hypnotic in the telling. The historian’s equivalent of a Mahler symphony.” (Malcolm Jones, Newsweek)     

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,130
  • 4 Stars
    225
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    17

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    980
  • 4 Stars
    150
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    7

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    962
  • 4 Stars
    171
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great book. A deceptive pricing policy

Any additional comments?

Be careful. Audible has separated this *single* book into three "volumes" so that you must spend three credits if you want to listen to the entire thing. Had I realized this, I probably would not have purchased it.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

combine these into one book

Any additional comments?

Needless to say - a masterpiece. But this book is inexplicably broken into three purchases (well, I can think of an explanation). The first two equally long volumes were one audiobook per. I wish they would do the same for Master of the Senate.

60 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Splitting up into 3 audio books is a rip off

Splitting up into 3 audio books is a rip off. There is no way this one part could stand alone in terms of substance

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

GREAT BOOK, BAD MANAGEMENT ON THIS BOOK

What did you love best about Master of the Senate?

Great book, so much information to gain.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Master of the Senate?

The Leland Olds witch hunt is particularly memorably, though not for good reasons.

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

Ability to consume the entire book in a timely manner.

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

Leland Olds nomination fight, it turned my stomach something awful to hear how LBJ ruined a good man.

Any additional comments?

I'm really disappointed this book was not only broken into three volumes on Audible (two understandable, but three defies logic given how first two volumes were presented as one single volume), but also that the chapters aren't lined up with the chapter breaks on the recording. This was highly disappointing given how well the first two books in this series were arranged and aligned by chapter.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Junior Senator from Texas Learns the Ropes

The first 1/3 examines the history of the Senate and the rise of the seniority system and the South's dominance in the Senate leadership. It examines LBJ's entrance into the Senate and his struggles to fit in and find his place. It then examines Richard Russell (the guy they named the Russell Senate building after) and his family's history and his history and rise to power in the US Senate. Why? Because Senator Russell was to become the key to LBJ's success in the Senate. The first 1/3 of the book examines how LBJ used many of the same techniques to develop a relationship with Russell that in his House years he used with Sam Rayburn (LBJ had a way with older men with power: Rayburn, Russell, LBJ). The first 1/3 ends with LBJ destroying the career and reputation of Leland Olds when he was re-appointed to head the FPC (Federal Power Commission) in 1949. In doing so, LBJ was able to gain some more cred with Texas' oil industry and with his Southern fellow senators. The last bit of the first section also details Johnson's use of his "Preparedness Investigating" subcommittee (similar to the one used by Truman during WWII) in order to raise his name recognition during the beginning of the Korean War. Caro contrasts the way that LBJ ran the committee with the way that Truman ran his.

Quick note - my two star review for performance has nothing to do with Grover Gardner's read. He did a fantastic job. I'm just pissed at Audible or the producers for dividing this book into 3 sections. Instead of one book that is 54 hrs and 50 minutes long, they divided it into three books (thus three credits). They did this with Michael Burlingame's Lincoln too (but to be fair Burlingame's Lincoln = 109 hrs and 9 minutes). They didn't do it for any of Caro's other LBJ books. They didn't do it with Caro's The Power Broker (66 hrs and 11 mins). I get it that they need to pay for a huge book to get recorded and produced. So? Charge me 2 credits, but breaking it into 18 and 16 hours segments to extract 3 credits seems obnoxious. It isn't as bad as what they originally did with Burlingame's Lincoln. I think that book was originally broken down into 12 (TWELVE!!!) audiobooks with some being only 4 hrs and 34 minutes. That's my only beef really with this book. Brilliant. Well-read. One of the best biographies EVER written.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

DROP JAW AMAZING!!

This is the most popular book of the multi book johnson bio. Unfortunately many of the other books have yet to come to audible which is kind of unbelievable to me !! I cant rate this book highly enough. Its content is so incendiary and insightful, and the outstanding quality of the writing will spoil you. You will surly want to check out Caro's other masterpiece after this called THE POWER BROKER . These 2 books are truly must reads .
There is one thing that is very wrong with this book and it bothers me greatly. it's that your paying 3 credits in the end for 1 book. This dividing books into volumes is a sneaky and unfortunately encroaching method of drawing out more of your credits than you may be fully aware of. This book isn't THAT long to fairly divide it up into ``volumes`` nor are many of the other books this has been increasingly done to.
So lets call a spade a spade, Its a three credit book o.k.` I see Mcculloughs latest unabridged offerings are offered as 3 credit books with no shell game. those of us that spend freakishly long hours on this site have noticed this recent move to increase the credits for books in the above manners and more. email them and tell them this 3 credit crap is to much!! Thats at least $30 for 1 book! When it comes to that, its worth getting them from the library for free. I love this site, I have over 900 titles, The reason I keep spending all this money is because it has been good value. Theres no longer any point in continuing when so many of the titles double or triple in price.If their testing the waters to see what they can get away with,,the result will be the permanent loss of their most ardent subscribers.

50 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

1 book shouldn't require 3 purchases

I loved this book, like I love all of the books in the series. And the narration is excellent. But it is outrageous that Audible makes you purchase three different downloads to get this one book. On top of that, it isn't even clear, at least on the mobile site, that there are three different parts. I accidentally bought the second part first.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Caro deliver's again

Robert Caro's "The Power Broker" was one of my favorite books. In spite of that, I was always hesitant to read Master of the Senate because of its sheer volume. "And who cares that much about Lyndon Johnson", I thought. Well, it was my loss. This is a spectacular book with a truly insightful reading by Grover Gardner. This is not just the story of Lyndon Johnson, it is the story of the Senate, and some gems of history, like the story of Leland Olds and Lyndon Johnson, that are as gripping as a novel. There were times during this book when I wanted to reach into the page and strangle Lyndon Johnson, and times when I thought he was the best thing the Senate has ever seen. This may be a long listen, but you won't be bored for a moment. One of the best books I've ever listened to. Having read this, I'm now disappointed that the first collection, "The Rise To Power" and the last one, "The Presidential Years", are not on tape.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Biography!

Of all of the audiobooks I have heard over the past five or ten years that I have been listening to them, Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson--of which 'MASTER OF THE SENATE' is the third volume--is without a doubt the most interesting and worthwhile.

Well-narrated, but above all, well researched and written so well as to command attention and create suspense better than most novels, I have never enjoyed any series of audiobooks more.

This particular volume focuses on Johnson's Senate career and in particular his passage of the Civil Rights Voting Act.

I cannot more highly recommend an audiobook than I do all of the volumes of this biography.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

More than a bio of Johnson, a bio of politics

I can't recommend this book high enough. Master of the Senate is rich with history of not only Johnson's time in the Senate, but with a history of how the structure of the Senate and other branches of government work together. If that sounds a little boring, don't be mislead. This book is written in a way that makes the complex machinations of Washington politics alive and rich.

It also follows Johnson's personal rise in politics and is relevant today because it gives us an example of how someone gains and uses power. The specific details of history may change, but human nature doesn't, so it provides a perspective on events happening at this very moment in local, national, and global politics.

I've read the first two volumes (Path to Power, and Means of Ascent) in print. Unfortunately, they are not available from audible.com at this time. Luckily you can safely read just Master of the Senate without having read the first 2 volumes. (I agree with the first reviewer here, Audible, please add these fantastic books.)

Be warned though, there is an abridged version here on audible.com as well as the unabridged. Look for the 3 volume set to get the full story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul
  • Paul
  • 05-27-10

A proper in-depth, detailed book

Really excellent from start to finish. This is an unbiast, honest review which goes into great detail. I really enjoyed the book and I wish that all history books were as unbiast as this one. Really very good overall. Enjoy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-26-19

Great, in-depth but with quite some repetition

Off course it’s great. Not only for a better understanding of President Johnson but also of the whole era in American politics and life.

The only thing that annoys me are the repetitions. Especially, when you have read all the previous books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for E P
  • E P
  • 04-23-19

Fake News 1950s Style

This massive biography of LBJ continues to hold it’s hypnotic grip. This potion examines fake news, sound bites and sexed up documents all set in the America of the early 1950s

Additionally this is one of the clearest explanation of the USA system of government I have read

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-19-16

Excellent

Excellent biography of LBJs time getting into the Senate and first steps to prominence. Audible makes the information much more accessible due to the detail in this tome..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for blraider
  • blraider
  • 07-21-16

An excellent book

Caro did it as a real master. Very detailed review of history of US Senate as well as its masters from its foundation.

Narator performed his role extrimely good.

I really enjoyed. My sincere recommendation.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark Schultz
  • Mark Schultz
  • 05-19-15

Excellent

Another fine instalment in a series of brilliantly narrated texts, grover gardener reads Caro brilliantly.