Customer Reviews for

The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    First Rate Work!

    It took me twelve days to read the first out of soon to be five total volumes of Lyndon Johnson's rise to power.

    The author portrays Lyndon Johson, from the time he was a child, as a person who craves power and how he obtains it. He shows Lyndon as a person who slowly achieves what he has always wanted in the most amoral ways possible.

    Because of this book, not only is Robert Caro now my favorite book author, it has helped me completely understand the art of politics.

    Anyone interested in politics, history, or biographies should read this book.

    Now on to the second volume!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    Makes biography by other authors seem superficial

    After finishing the fourth (of an expected five) book of this mega-biography, I vowed I’d read the first three. (I don’t know why Johnson is so fascinating to me – I definitely wasn’t a fan.) The Path to Power covers Johnson’s early years – from his birth in 1908 through 1941,just after his loss in a race for a US Senate seat from Texas. The Path to Power also includes genealogical information on his mother’s side (Bunton) and his father’s. What Robert Caro doesn’t know about LBJ has to be negligible – he covers LBJ in such detail, that even voluminous biographies by other authors seems superficial after reading his. In addition to incredible biographical information, he provides the Big Picture: life in Texas hill country during LBJ’s formative years, the long-standing history of corruption in Texas politics, and what it was like to keep house before electricity. (That becomes particularly important to understand why Rural Electrification was such an important issue in the 1930s.) On one hand, LBJ is shown to be an organizational and political genius. On the other hand, he was a real SOB from an early age. In one chapter, I feel sorry for him and in another, I’d like to wring his skinny neck. Overall, however, this series of books by Mr. Caro provides a fascinating portrait of a man who sought and obtained power by whatever means necessary. I appreciate the author’s pressuring his interviewees for the real story of LBJ, not the good-ole-boy stories they apparently told previous biographers. I’m looking forward to reading #2 and#3 next.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2004

    The making of a president

    Why Lyndon Johnson was the way he was is neatly summed up in this excellent work by Robert Caro. Knowing that Johnson was a complex character, as well as a supreme political opportunist, we need to ask why. Caro provides the answer by pulling back the veil that covered the poverty and backwardness that was the Texas Hill Country of the first half of the twentieth century. Showing the poor little boy (who allowed school friends to 'pop' his ear lobes for a nickel) with dreams of greatness and his fathers reputation constantly in front of him to the manipulator of campus politics, the author illustrates the emergence of one of the greatest politicians in America. An excellent, highly engaging work. But one must stop there as other works in this excellent series are already available and should be read in as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Ascent to Power

    Robert Caro as good as there is

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  • Posted October 14, 2012

    Recommended with Reservations

    Some people might object to the opinions and conclusions of the author, and I do to some 0f them. This is not an impartial biography of the man Lyndon Johnson and I do not think the author gave Johnson enough credit for his genius and in several instances his courage. For example, Johnson knew the Democratic party had a good chance of losing the South in future elections if the Voting Rights Act passed. Yet he supported it and his prediction about the South came true. The Southern Republicans are the same old bigoted reactionary Democrats with a different label, but they help the national GOP in Congress create a majority from time to time. Johnson did a lot of other good things, but his Viet Nam policy was catastrophic, as was Nixon's.
    In short, the book is worth reading but with caution.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Wow!

    This is likely the gold standard of biographies! Exhaustively researched using public and private documents, Caro adds extensive notes from his personal interviews with many of the people involved which adds a lot more color and flavor than raw documents can provide. Caro writes in a fashion that holds the readers interest but the writing is not always smooth. I sometimes found myself re-reading passages or sentences over and over to grasp the meaning. At over 900 pages excluding index, footnotes, and acknowledgements, this book is not for the faint of heart, but it's well worth the effort!

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    A GREAT READ

    Well written, well researched and excellant biography of one of the most influential men of th 20th century. I don't always agree with his conclusions and at times I think he is a little hard on Johnson always thinking the worst of his motivations. That aside, Caro paints an unforgettable portrait not just of Johnson but of the place and time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2004

    An extraordinary work

    Robert Caro's book, The Path to Power, is an extraordinary biography. Mr. Caro develops Lyndon Johnson's childhood and early adulthood in wonderful detail and amazing clarity. This is a three dimentional approach to biography. After reading this book, the reader almost feels that he has met Johnson himself. Caro's gift for writing is also extraordinary. There are very few biographies that read like a novel - certainly this is one. It is hard to put the book down once you've started the work, long as it is. His development and description of the people in Johnson's life, Johnson's parents, Sam Rayburn, 'the White Stars', along with description of the important events of his early life - running away from home, his first congressional race, 'the Dam', read as well as any prose a reader could hope to enjoy. For those interested in Lyndon Johnson or American politics of the middle 20th century, this book is not to be missed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Outstanding

    Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson is one of the best biographies ever written, period. In this first volume, it takes Caro 70 pages just to set the stage for LBJ's birth - describing the Texas Hill Country as a trap, setting forth the ways in which LBJ resembled his forebears. Rather than annoying by failing to get to the point (or even begin it), Caro enchants, entices and relaxes you into LBJ's way of being, much as LBJ did himself. Caro clearly dislikes his subject but does him justice. This book is a joy to read, watching a master at work in his early days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    Very readable LBJ biography

    This is some of the best evidence of writing history in a way that is compelling and readable. This provides a very full picture of LBJ's early political years and his influences. But beware: this book will make you mistrust every politician you come across - even more than before. I find it interesting to read about Brown & Root's financial support of LBJ, knowing that they are still a large influential company today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    Definitive, Gut-Wrenching Masterwork

    Robert A. Caro doesn't take research lightly. It's clear he really put his whole life into following LBJ's early years, living where he lived, talking with ANYONE who remembered him, etc. Like he did in 'The Power Broker,' Caro works to break down long-held beliefs about his subject that are just plain wrong! LBJ was NOT a popular student in college, he was NOT really a liberal, (just an opportunist who went where the votes were), but he WAS a liar from a very early age. Caro is the ONLY man to trust on LBJ, just read his stuff and forget all the chatter.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2000

    An Excellent Source of 'Behind- the- Scenes Politics

    For those who yearn to to study the politics that we see glossed over on television, Cairo's book provides an in-depth account of the rise of an unlikely boy from the Texas Hill Country to the national scene. Johnson's desperation, and ambition are well chronicled in this book. An excellent resource.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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