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The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon…

The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (1982)

by Robert A. Caro

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1,396215,435 (4.53)65



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As with many of these biographies, the author gets a little lost in details- one man's life doesn't need to be 3 volumes!
But it's fascinating to see what politics was like in rural Texas in mid-century.
One amazing thing: usually when an author buries himself in the life of a famous person, he comes out defending him/her, or at least ready to see things from the subject's perspective. But Caro's basic take on LBJ is that the guy was a total opportunist, looking to wield power at all costs, with no real political core. This in contrast to much more impressive men (as portrayed in the book) like LBJ's father (a state senator in Texas who never played the game and never cashed in) and Sam Rayburn (a completely incorruptible US House Speaker).
The book is endless, if interesting, so I need some time off before tackling the next one. ( )
  DanTarlin | Sep 7, 2014 |
Compelling reading. It does leave one feeling a little sorry for the United States as a whole given the level of sleaze and dishonesty catalogued by the author with regards to the highest elective offices in the nation. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | May 20, 2014 |
Robert Caro gives an extremely extensive history of Lyndon Johnson's early career, up until his loss in the Senate race of 1941, in such a way that the amount of detail just adds to the story rather than drawing it out. Caro is able to bring facts and interviews to life retaining the readers interests throughout hundreds of pages. ( )
  lucasdwi | Aug 21, 2013 |
A must read to understand 20th century American History. ( )
  JayLivernois | Apr 22, 2013 |
Biography at its best. I eagerly wait for the second volume. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
For readers who want to believe that the President Johnson of the Vietnam War years not merely was, but always had been, an unprincipled monster, ''The Path to Power'' will be rewarding reading. For those who seek to understand this remarkably complex, singularly gifted and tragically limited man, Mr. Caro's book will seem more like a caricature than a portrait.
For whatever the drawbacks of ''The Path to Power,'' they seem slight in the framework of its overall impact. The details that Mr. Caro has dug up are astonishing, and he has pieced them together to tell a monumental political saga.
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On the day he was born, he would say, his white-haired grandfather leaped onto his big black stallion and thundered across the Texas Hill Country, reining in at every farm to shout: 'A United States Senator was born this morning.'
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679729453, Paperback)

The profound understanding of the uses and abuses of power Robert Caro displayed in his 1974 biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, is a scathing achievement the author surpassed with panache in this, his second book. Caro's dogged research and refusal to accept received wisdom results in an eye-opening portrait that unforgettably captures the titanic personality of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973). Though stronger on Johnson's duplicity and naked self-promotion than his intelligence and charm, Caro nails it all. He chronicles the evolution of an attention-demanding youth from the Texas hill country into a seasoned congressman who would abandon his ardent espousal of the New Deal as soon as it ceased to be expedient. The dirty details begin with college elections that earn young Lyndon a reputation as a crook and a liar; Caro goes on to unravel financial shenanigans of impressive ingenuity. Johnson's consuming desire to get ahead and his political genius "unencumbered by philosophy or ideology" are staggering. The White House, Great Society, and Vietnam lie ahead when the main narrative closes in 1941, but the roots of Johnson's future achievements and tragic failures are laid bare. This biography may well stand as the best book written in the second half of the 20th century about personal ambition inextricably linked with historic change. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:18 -0400)

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Traces young Lyndon Johnson's rise from Texas poverty to political power, illuminating his political relationships

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