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Narrated by: Robert A. Caro
Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (239 ratings)

Regular price: $28.00

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Publisher's Summary

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and the Years of Lyndon Johnson series: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply revealing recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed books.

For the first time in audiobook form, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these evocatively written, personal pieces. He describes what it was like to interview the mighty Robert Moses; what it felt like to begin discovering the extent of the political power Moses wielded; the combination of discouragement and exhilaration he felt confronting the vast holdings of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; his encounters with witnesses, including longtime residents wrenchingly displaced by the construction of Moses' Cross-Bronx Expressway and Lady Bird Johnson acknowledging the beauty and influence of one of LBJ's mistresses. He gratefully remembers how, after years of working in solitude, he found a writers' community at the New York Public Library and details the ways he goes about planning and composing his books.

Caro recalls the moments at which he came to understand that he wanted to write not just about the men who wielded power, but about the people and the politics that were shaped by that power. And he talks about the importance to him of the writing itself, of how he tries to infuse it with a sense of place and mood to bring characters and situations to life on the page. Taken together, these reminiscences - some previously published, some written expressly for this book - bring into focus the passion, the wry self-deprecation, and the integrity with which this brilliant historian has always approached his work.

©2019 Robert A. Caro (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"As an audiobook performer, Robert Caro doesn't display much polish, but there could be no finer voice for describing his career as an investigative writer.... That distinctive, indigenous voice transforms what would have been a stray assembly of reminiscences, old interviews, and magazine pieces into a compelling narrative of the writerly life.... Caro is 82, and the story he tells is an inspiration to every would-be writer, told with authenticity - and artistry - that no polish could enhance." (AudioFile Magazine)

“Superb.... Writing with customary humor, grace, and vigor, Caro wryly acknowledges the question ‘Why does it take so long’ to produce each book. Caro provides both the short answer - intensive research - and a longer, illuminating explication of just what that entails.... The results may take longer, but, as readers of Caro’s work know, it is always worth the wait. For the impatient, however, this lively combination of memoir and non-fiction writing will help sate their appetite....” (Publishers Weekly

“The iconic biographer...offers wisdom about researching and writing.... In sparkling prose, Caro...recounts his path from growing up sheltered in New York City to studying at Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia to unexpectedly becoming a newspaper reporter and deciding to devote his life to writing books.... The author shares fascinating insights into his research process in archives; his information-gathering in the field, such as the Texas Hill Country; his interviewing techniques; his practice of writing the first draft longhand; and his ability to think deeply about his material. Caro also offers numerous memorable anecdotes.... Caro’s skill as a biographer, master of compelling prose, appealing self-deprecation, and overall generous spirit shine through on every page.” (Kirkus Reviews)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good as always.

I've been a Robert Caro fan for a while, The Power Broker was one of the first books I bought when I joined Audible in 2012 and I'd list his LBJ series as my all time favorite book (when taken as a whole). While this book isn't the final LBJ book that I've been waiting for, I decided to buy it to support an author that has given me so much enjoyment.

The book itself is enjoyable, it's full of anecdotes of his time researching his books and my rating reflects that. A little over 1/2 of the book is actually articles released in magazines like the New Yorker collected here, the rest is apparently semi new (but not entirely).

The biggest negative though is that the Audible original On Power that was released a couple of years ago is basically large sections from this longer work condensed down, and there were several parts that I thought were better done in abbreviated form On Power. Having previously listened to On Power I knew many of the stories and often the sections in this book were word for word duplicates of On Power. There are some interesting new sections, but for anyone who's listened to On Power this will be very repetitive. I'd almost think of this as an uncut extended version of On Power more than an unique work.

I'm happy to support Caro, but just like the disappointment with the Audible Original of Micheal Lewis's The Coming Storm which was really just the last part of the The Fifth Risk, Audible needs to do something about releasing sections of a book as an Original and then charging us twice for basically the same work (in each case the longer more complete work was released a little while after the Audible "Original"). If you haven't bought On Power skip that and just get this work, 90+% of that original is contained in this work.

Glad to have more Caro, just wish it was more unique.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Excellent book!

This book adds a valuable dimension and context to Caro's already invaluable bibliography.

Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

History that lives

What a pleasure to listen to Robert Caro for an afternoon, he is a wordsmith who makes history live and breathe. Mr. Caro delights his readers with details, both of the subject and times.
To listen to his voice is an unexpected treat.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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so this is how he does it!

Caro is a national treasure. 40+ years of analyzing power as no one ever has.

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some of it is great, some repetative

Robert Caro is a wonderful author and some of the essays are a true delight. It is a collection of old and new writings pertaining to similar topics, which makes some narratives a bit repetative. Here and there there are even a few anecdotes that appear more than once. Nonetheless, I definitely learned a lot about historical non-fiction.

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Masterful

One of the best books I’ve read, non-fiction or otherwise. Having Caro narrate was a real treat. Provides a nuanced view of LBJ and Moses, and gives amazing insight into the process of crafting Caro’s works.

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whatever he does...

Caro has ruined biography - everything else is so little, so limp-wristed, half-hearted - whatever he writes is apparently valuable

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absolutely best

really insightful book about power and writing. I love hearing Robert Caro's voice. there are so many good stuff here.

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  • Jim Fuqua
  • Hendersonville, TN United States
  • 05-14-19

The Secretes of One of the Very Best Biographers

This book tells how Robert Caro thinks and how he writes. It tells many things left out of his books because he prefers to leave himself out of the books he writes. If I could give this book 7 stars, I would.

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Superb Message: Shut Up and Listen!

Such eloquent insight into Caro’s process, doggedness, self-admonition to shut up and listen, and adoration of Ina, his wife and sole research partner. An extraordinary explication of the role of sensory information from what interviewees heard, saw, felt in presence of LBJ, what Caro learned and included about the role of place, how Caro and his wife immersed themselves in the people and locales of their subjects. How painful to hear his pain listening to the pain of the people Robert Moses betrayed and uprooted! How fascinating to see that Caro was as wily as LBJ himself in tracking down and listening to aged associates of the long-dead Johnson! How tender Ina’s insights into the women of the Texas Hill Country! This is a manual par excellence for writers and writing teachers.