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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate v.3: Master of the Senate Vol 3 Hardcover – 22 Aug 2002


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  • Hardcover: 1200 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (22 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224062875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224062879
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 5.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,112,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

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 the Paperback edition.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Sw Radford on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Nov 2006
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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 May 2002
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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