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The Path to Power (original 1982; edition 2013)
by Robert A. Caro (Author), Grover Gardner (Narrator)
The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro (1982)
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A tale at once utterly engrossed in the particulars of the rise of LBJ, meticulously and exhaustingly researched from the Texas Hill Country up to the House of Representatives, and at the same time a story so universal in its pattern that it feels like a remake of 'All About Eve' set in the world of politics instead of the theatre. Each is the story of the devious, manipulative, sociopathic ambition of a talented person who just has to be number one, and who leaves a trail of disgruntled, used and discarded people behind. The ugly reality of a rise to power. ( )
Caro's first book in the definitive biography of LBJ has got me excited for the rest of the series. I hadn't read any history in quite a while, so this was ambitious to jump back into it. Caro is so thoroughly researched, its hard to find fault or doubt with his writing. This book's greatest strength is how every major non-LBJ character is given their own mini-biography so that you get to truly understand them and their motivations for how they interact with LBJ. Definitely excited to move on to "Means of Ascent."
v1, The path to power, 1983, xxiv, 882 p. : ill. maps. v2, Means of ascent, 1991, xxxiv, 522 p. : ill. maps.
Outstanding mix of narrative history / review, along with storyteller's momentum and just enough biographical capsules. Esp enjoyed capsule reviews of Sam Rayburn, Byrd and R. Russell. Balanced with the weaknesses/insecurity of Johnson, with his virtues as a powerful driver of action. Makes compelling case that the tax and civil rights bill would not have passed - or at a greatly watered down version- if he hadn't been there to drive it home. Great account of the indecisiveness of the 1960 presidential run and the subsequent circus of him being chosen VP over the best efforts of Robert Kennedy.
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.
Belongs to Series
Is contained in
The Years of Lyndon Johnson - The Path to Power Vol. 1 and Means of Ascent, Vol. 2 and Master of the Senate, Vol.3. (3 Volume Set) by Robert A. Caro
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Wikipedia in English (15)
Traces Johnson's life from his Texas childhood through his rise to political power and his successful 1948 senatorial campaign.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)973.923092History and Geography North America United States 1901- Eisenhower Through Clinton Administrations Lyndon Johnson Biography
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