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Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III (Vintage) [Paperback]

Robert A Caro
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.98
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Book Description

1 Jun 2003 Vintage
The most riveting political biography of our time, Robert A. Caro’s life of Lyndon B. Johnson, continues. Master of the Senate takes Johnson’s story through one of its most remarkable periods: his twelve years, from 1949 through 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson’s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius--seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives--to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction. Brilliantly weaving rich detail into a gripping narrative, Caro gives us both a galvanizing portrait of Johnson himself and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings of legislative power.

Frequently Bought Together

Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III (Vintage) + Means Of Ascent-Years Of Lyndon Johnson Vol 2 (Pimlico) + The Path To Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Vol 1: Path to Power Vol 1
Price For All Three: 50.60

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1232 pages
  • Publisher: Non Basic Stock Line; Reprint edition (1 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394720954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394720951
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Book Three in Caro's monumental life of Lyndon Johnson - the most admired and riveting political biography of our era - which began with the bestselling and prize-winning The Path to Power and Means of Ascent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Book three - and winner of the US National Book Award - in Caro's monumental life of Lyndon Johnson - the most admired and riveting political biography of our era - which began with the bestselling and prize-winning The Path to Power and Means of Ascent. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Truly Great Biographies 31 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
Even those addicted to the soap opera of politics would admit that not all political 'personalities' really deserve a biographic trilogy by a skilled writer. Lyndon Baines Johnson lived a life that would almost be better suited to Greek tragedy than political biography: raised in poverty, and after a dubious election found his way to Congress whereupon his ambition lead him to become a New Dealer and acolyte of Sam Rayburn, the then-speaker of the House.
After promotion to the Senate after another bruising election campaign, LBJ set about waking up this august house from its non-partisan slumber. Through bullying, intimidation, a certain dose of charm and any other tactic available to him, LBJ passed more legislation than anyone since Franklin Roosevelt.
Thanks to his presidency, Liberalism scaled new heights: its war on poverty formed LBJ's 'Great Society' and radically reduced the back-breaking poverty that many in the US still silently suffer from; his civil rights legislation put an end to the political apartheid that blighted many areas of the South; and his rhetoric created a climate in both Houses that embraced social change.
However, to misquote Mandeville, private vice can equal public virtue. Johnson was a bully to his wife, a tyrant to his staff on many occasions, and was obscenely crude and unstatesmanlike.
Perhaps this hubris, this taunting of the political gods, was the reason that he couldn't bring himself to play it smart rather than tough over Vietnam. His passion, and his talents, were directed at domestic reform, and it was a nationalist movement in a faraway Southeastern country that was to see the death of reform liberalism and the Democrats as the US's majority party.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This enormous and wonderful book is the third volume of Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson.When I read thefirst volume,"Path to Power I was astonishedby the versatility and power of Caro's writing.I remember particularly his evocation of the harsh Texas Hill Country of Johnson's youth and his extraordinarily effective and moving depiction of the rigours of the life of the hill farmers' families before the coming of electricity. One read too of the young Johnson working on a Texas State Highway "road gang" in harness with apair of mules doing brutally hard work for pay of $2 a day.LBJ's determination to succeed ,to avoid the penury which befell his father stemmed from such experience,experience which nurtured in him an empathy with the poor,exemplified in his youth by his efforts to help his empoverished Mexican-American students during his time as a schoolteacher in Southern Texas.
"Master of the Senate" covers the years from his disputed election to the Senate in 1948 up to his election as Vice-President to John Kennedy in 1960.The book is so compelling,so gripping and,indeed,exciting,that one is never daunted by its great length.Even when Caro lengthily digresses on the history of the Senate or even more telling,the racial history of the 1950s it is time well spent.
Johnson was a powerful paradoxical figure.A marvellous intuitive politician he became leader of the Democrats in the Senate and Caro tells how Johnson bent that body to his will by intelligent manipulation and the sheer massive force of his personality and ambition.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A manificent book, truly remarkable 10 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback
This is an imposing book. Huge, and at first sight dull. Caro starts off with a history of the Senate. But he does so brilliantly, gradually developing a layered and richly drawn portrait of the context of his subject. By looking at his time as a Senator and the way he uses the institution to get what he wants this book presents a fascinating picture of LBJ and his times. A quite brilliant book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful History And Biography! 5 Nov 2006
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I took up "Master Of The Senate" on the recommendation of a state senate majority leader. I began the book with some skepticism because I did not like Johnson when he was president and I feel that his reputation has deteriorated since then. Long before completing this book I was very grateful for the recommendation. In it, author Robert A. Caro treats the reader to a work equally great as biography and history. He does an excellent job in revealing Johnson's character and accomplishments in the context of the history in which he lived.

"Master Of The Senate" is the third volume in Caro's biography of LBJ. It deals primarily with his years in the Senate from his election to elevation (if that is the proper term) to the vice-presidency. It portrays a man who was repulsive and clever, ill but indefatigable, obsequious and ruthless, loved and hated, respected and feared, but always successful.

Caro gives the reader an eye opening history of the Senate leading to the condition in which Lyndon Johnson found it in 1949. Although primarily covered in earlier volumes, Caro gives the reader an insight into the ups and downs LBJ endured on his way to the Senate. On a personal basis he portrays Johnson as an incredibly crude man, an open womanizer who demeaned Lady Bird while playing on the loneliness and vanity of The Powers of the Congress. After wondering how Johnson had any success in politics, the reader is summoned to awe inspiring admiration of his accomplishments.

Assimilating himself into the Southern caucus, LBJ ingratiated himself to Sam Rayburn and Sen. Richard Russell, two single, lonely men longing for a son figure to take make their lives whole. They were to be his powerful patrons who would advance his career to heights not open to them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read.
You will find what this book is about in other reviews, so I shall restrict myself to opine that this book is the best of the four (so far) penned by Robert Caro about LBJ. Read more
Published 7 months ago by greatgiginthesky
5.0 out of 5 stars masterof american political history
the only difference between Caro & le Carre is this is factual thriller all 3 I have so far read of the LBJ biographies are truly outstanding a lesson on 20th century American... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Ross Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent if very long history of Lyndon Johnson, the Senate, Civil...
This third volume of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon B Johnson is of the same extremely high standard as its predecessors and its successor. Read more
Published 12 months ago by William Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good book
This is a strange book. From the title, you might think that this book is about Lyndon Johnson's life in the Senate. It is, but it's about much more than that. Read more
Published 14 months ago by J. Bowen
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Majority Leader Ever
This is a superb work. I have ordered the paperback Caro book about LBJ "Passage of Power"
which I believe is due in May. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Michael M.Steele
4.0 out of 5 stars Very weighty and quite heavy going, but very good nonetheless
If you like the West Wing, you'll love this tale of US political chicanery and double dealing, of highs and lows of human nature.
Published 20 months ago by P. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars The Senate and Lyndon Johnson
This book by Robert Caro is a fascinating and necessary reading for anybody really interested in American politics. Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2012 by R A Zambardino
5.0 out of 5 stars Great item bro in law loved it blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...
Great item bro in law loved it blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Published on 13 July 2012 by Egypt1am
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best - for political junkies, that is
This is one of those books that you will either become enthralled by and devour with awe or feel overloaded and bored and then drop right away. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2011 by rob crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous writing
I suppose very few people are interested in Lyndon Johnson these days, and why not? he passed out of history 40 years ago. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2010 by Highbury
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