on 2 December 2015
Yes, it is long. Yes, it is not a casual read. Yes, it helps to have read the previous volumes (as I have...nah, nah, na, NAA, na!) but Robert Caro has done it again. This is a brilliant snapshot of Washington politics and backstage manouering as we are likely to get this year. Or most other years. This volume covers Johnson leaving his post as Senate Majority Leader for the Vice-Presidency and his soon realising he has made a huge mistake. Tragically the crack of Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle in Dallas saves Johnson from the nothingness of the Veep's non-role in governmental affairs and ironically saves LBJ's career but OMG what a story!
And let it be said here and now this book has the best explanation of Bobby Kennedy and LBJ's longstanding feud you will ever but ever read. Caro also goes to great lengths to explain how Bobby Kennedy, a most prickly and unlikeable undergraduate while studying at the Univ of Virginia, became the warm-hearted Senate visionary Democrats still weep over today.
This is a great work, a terrific book. It will stand tall through the ages and be used in schools for years and years. Any American interested in how we got to where we are in the early 21st century should read this.
on 30 October 2014
Not quite in the same range as volume 2 (the ultimate power struggle) but up to Caro's excellent, if somewhat gushing at times, standards. Races at a pace through the civil rights legislation of 63/64 -- could be treated in more depth I think -- but brilliant on the Kennedy-Johnson battles, the assassination and transition.
on 16 August 2015
Robert Caro's writing style can be overly dramatic at times but then, he's telling a very dramatic story. Another thoroughly engrossing volume in this excellent biography.
The (possibly) final volume should be fascinating, showing how, from such a magnificent start to his Presidency, Johnson should fall so low and all in just four years.
A recommended read if you've read volumes one to three.