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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

The is an excellent biography about a fascinating man. Caro imme

The is an excellent biography about a fascinating man. Caro immerses the reader in a gripping story of an important time in American history. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in politics, history, society, or personalities. It is certainly worth taking ...
The is an excellent biography about a fascinating man. Caro immerses the reader in a gripping story of an important time in American history. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in politics, history, society, or personalities. It is certainly worth taking the time to enjoy this wonderful book.

posted by Anonymous on May 7, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Dazzling but misses too much

In Caro's first three books, I found exactly ONE SENTENCE to quibble with. In the new one, it is like there's an 18 1/2 minute gap.

Caro tells us Johnson went to Texas a full WEEK ahead of JFK in November of that awful year, then gives us not ONE WORD what he did un...
In Caro's first three books, I found exactly ONE SENTENCE to quibble with. In the new one, it is like there's an 18 1/2 minute gap.

Caro tells us Johnson went to Texas a full WEEK ahead of JFK in November of that awful year, then gives us not ONE WORD what he did until six days later. But we learn that at the ranch, two trips are made to Austin to buy new hand towels for Mrs. Kennedy, the first terry cloth, and then, when it is discovered by a means Caro doesn't tell that Mrs. K does not prefer terry cloth, a SECOND trip for smooth ones. A servant is trained, he writes, to POUR CHAMPAGNE OVER ICE, as that is how Jackie likes hers. But we do not see what Lyndon does?

Though his rationale for giving a full book that includes the 1960 campaign, the vice presidential period and ends seven weeks into the new presidency is his interest in being more than a biographer, showing how power is wielded in America, he does not include Billy Sol Estes or Henry Marshall (an Agriculture Dept. agent "suicided" in 1961--by FIVE SHOTS from a bolt action rifle--who was investigating Estes criminal activities), or even Clint Murchison in the book?

Caro uncharacteristically uses many pages of excerpts of Jackie Kennedy's words from William Manchester's Death of a President, but omits not just TALKING TO HER (we can understand that he might not want to put her through that agony), but listing even to her oral histories?

I had expected Caro from the time I read his first book, The Path to Power, to examine the involvement of the 36th president in the death of his predecessor, a story told in many credible books, including Madeleine Brown's Texas in the Morning (1997) and Barr McClellan's Blood, Money and Power (2003). At the least such evidence as is brought forth in those needs to be refuted, NOT IGNORED.

We can learn much by reading all that Caro includes, and more, alas, by what he leaves unlooked at.

posted by 1CW on May 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    The is an excellent biography about a fascinating man. Caro imme

    The is an excellent biography about a fascinating man. Caro immerses the reader in a gripping story of an important time in American history. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in politics, history, society, or personalities. It is certainly worth taking the time to enjoy this wonderful book.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2012

    LBJ all the way

    I have waited ten years for Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power. As in the others in the series it does not disappoint. In anticipation of number four in the series that chronicles the life of the MM President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson, I re-read the previous three and Caro’s The Power Broke: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.
    While each of the four volumes stands on its own, they address one simple question: power. How do you get it, how do you use it, and how do you prepare your life for it?
    Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) knew he was special from a young age and always dreamt big dreams, as he worked as teenage on a very physically difficult road project he would tell his fellow workers that he was going to be President one day.
    LBJ has a gift to befriend both young and old who would help him set a course to the top.
    The Passage of Power is so vivid and full of details you can feel this larger than life figure as he transitions from the Leader of the Senate to the lackluster empty role of the Vice-Presidency.
    The most riveting chapters are the ones that go behind the scenes and lay out a detailed account of his ascension into the presidency. It seemed that his entire life was for this defining moment. This event is a terrible chapter of our American history the tragic death by assassination of the John F. Kennedy.
    LBJ understood the symbolism and the importance of a smooth transition. His leadership kept a bad situation from getting much worse.
    Unfortunately the book ends, just as LBJ is getting settled into the Presidency, hopefully it won’t take another ten years to dig into the final chapter of the Johnson odyssey.
    This book takes you to a different era of American politics, one in which was filled with possibilities from landing to the moon, to civil rights, and eradicating poverty. The role of government and politics was to solve societal problems. Not what we see today, the divisive language of hate that has created a broken system that points fingers rather than digging deep and fixing what is wrong.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    Robert Caro's 4th book in his series on LBJ covers the most news

    Robert Caro's 4th book in his series on LBJ covers the most newsworthy period in his life when he became VP and then, following the tragic assassination, President. Although I have read many books about the Kennedy administration and of course the assassination itself and the aftermath, this was the first one that presents that period and those events from LBJ's perspective. This book deals with the Kennedy family almost as much as with LBJ.

    For many years (and for some people it seems, for eternity) it was impossible to look at the actors in this dramatic period of history with anything like objectivity. Though JFK's halo gets a little more tarnished with every "tell-all" an ex-girlfriend writes, RFK has been St. Bobby for all of my life. This book presents a realistic and not very flattering portrait of Bobby and describes in detail his feud with LBJ. Bobby actually comes off as far more power-mad than LBJ, somebody who didn't fight (like LBJ did) to get where he was, but had his rich father to offer him jobs on a silver platter. Bobby's insulting not just LBJ but old Democratic lions like Harriman and Bowles was downright shocking. He was more like a Mafia henchman than a statesman and seemed a little mentally unstable.

    It retrospect, this is such a shame. LBJ and RFK could have worked together to improve so many aspects of Americans' lives and I think the fault lies more with Bobby than with LBJ. If you think he was only in his 30s and had never had a "real" job that his father didn't line up for him, why was his brother letting Bobby run everything, foreign policy, etc. With the distance of all these years this really looks like nepotism gone wild. JFK doesn't come off too well either. I was shocked that he was off on a Mediterranean cruise with a couple of buddies (and plenty of women) when his wife went into hospital to give birth to their first child (who died) and then he was in no hurry to get back home to his wife's side and Bobby had to arrange the baby's funeral. That story made me feel sick. Getting back to LBJ, Caro's portrait of him is (as it has been throughout the series) very critical though Caro admits (maybe a little grudgingly?) that LBJ had his qualities too, particularly in civil rights. Before writing this review, I Wikipedia'd through the list of legislation LBJ got passed and it is nothing short of remarkable.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2013

    Important historical work

    A remarkable read. Caro paints all the main characters using a full range of colors. Both achievements and flaws are rendered in a non-compromising manner. The LBJ and Robert Kennedy relationship is particularly engrossing. Caro alludes to how that dynamic impacted politics for a generation, perhaps even tillcurrent times. I wish he had developed this observation further with more specificity.

    Caro has a somewhat wordy, cumbersome writing style, but once you adapt to it, it poses no problem.

    LBJ unquestionably knew how to wield power, and what he accomplished in passing JFK's legislative initiatives that had been 'lingering on the vine' in the Congress is stupendous.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    I can't wait for the next volume

    Caro has done it again. It is hard for me to say whether or not this volume is better than Master of The Senate, but I read this volume with as much attention. The Passage of Power covers the years (roughly) from 1957-1964. In these years you see a man on top become a depressed shell of his former self, eventually to regain his stature and pick himself up off the floor to do what no president had previously done. The Lyndon Johnson that assumed the presidency was not the Lyndon Johnson who was vice-president. Caro leaves no stone unturned in his narrative of the years of Johnson.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Great accomplishment

    I've never been an LBJ fan, I've always thought of him as an old fashioned bully politician. But, after reading the series, you realize that Johnson was a man who got things done. He power brokered many of the major legislative bills we have today. In our time, where elected leaders find it hard to even be in the same room together, Johnson had a way of bringing people together for the good of the nation. His tactics weren't always ethical, but he got the job done. Most impressive was the immediate change in his persona after the death of JFK. He took charge, layed out a plan and executed it. I wish someone like him were around today to shake things up.
    Very well written book that reads well and is thoroughly enjoyable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Highly recommended to those interested in politics and power

    Absolutely gripping, the interplay of personalities, the picture of this era, written like a novel

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Can't wait for next volume.

    Caro proves again he is the premier biographer of our time. He had some good fortune some forty plus years ago choosing Lyndon Johnson as the subject. This is fascinating stuff.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Incredibly well-written and -researched

    An average reader would, I think, be amazed at the amount of detail and intimate conversation that the author has recorded. I'm going to go back and read the earlier parts of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    An extraordinary story, vividly told. If you want to be both re

    An extraordinary story, vividly told. If you want to be both repulsed and fascinated by the exercise of power in a democracy, read both this book and volume 3 of this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    What a wonderful series. Caro's research is comprehensive. Joh

    What a wonderful series. Caro's research is comprehensive. Johnson, of course, is a character and Caro seems to shift in his feelings about the politician, but he's always fair in his judgments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    DIONYSUS CABIN

    God of Wine

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Tiafq

    Kj kkb,te iyi
    glm

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    amazing

    what a twisted and subversive world we live in, it gets worse with power

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2012

    An excellent book by an exceptional author; meticulously documen

    An excellent book by an exceptional author; meticulously documented story of LBJ, which describes thoroughly LBJ at his best and his worst. He was probably the most effective person at dealing with Congress (Do we need him now!) He did more for the poor and disadvantaged than any other white man ever. He also did some ugly things. Cato makes the details interesting.
    and spell

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    Posted July 19, 2013

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    Posted October 21, 2012

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    Posted September 23, 2013

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    Posted June 12, 2012

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    Posted August 28, 2012

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