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 This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered. In this book, we are brought as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.
Means of Ascent, Book Two of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, was a number one national best seller and, like The Path to Power, received the National Book Critics Circle Award.
"Powerful and stirring. A monumental political saga...It's an overwhelming experience to read The Path to Power."
-- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"Stands at the pinnacle of the biographical art."
-- Donald Morris, Houston Post
"By every measure -- depth of research, brilliance of conception, the seamless flow of the prose -- The Path to Power is a masterpiece of biography."
-- Dan Cryer, Newsday
"A superb and unique biography...Meticulous in research, grand in scale, this is a major work that will remain a tower of its kind."
-- Barbara Tuchman
"An awesome achievement! Not only a historical but a literary event...An epic biography...What brings Caro's story -- and it is a story -- to life is his astonishing concern for the humanity of his characters: the plight of a Hill Country family; the reserve of Lady Bird Johnson; the lonely integrity of Sam Rayburn." -- Peter Prescott, Newsweek
|Book:||The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson I|
|Author:||Robert A. Caro|
|Number of Pages:||960|
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