Master of the Senate
The Years of Lyndon Johnson III
By Robert A. Caro
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780394720951, 1232pp.)
Publication Date: April 25, 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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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.
Robert A. Caro was graduated from Princeton University, was for six years an award-winning investigative reporter for Newsday, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
To create The Power Broker, Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, and examining mountains of files never before opened to the public. The Power Broker won both the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for the book that “exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist.” It was chosen by Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century.
To research The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Caro and his wife, Ina, moved from his native New York City to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and in which he built, while still young, his first political machines. He has spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson’s life, many of whom had never before been interviewed. The first volume of the Johnson work, The Path to Power, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best nonfiction work of 1982. The second volume, Means of Ascent, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1990. In preparation for writing Master of the Senate, the third volume, Caro immersed himself in the world of the United States Senate, spending week after week in the gallery, in committee rooms, in the Senate Office Building, and interviewing hundreds of people, from pages and cloakroom clerks to senators and administrative aides. Master of the Senate won the 2002 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Among the numerous other awards Caros has won are the H.L. Mencken Award, the Carr P. Collins, Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
His website is www.robertcaro.com.
“A wonderful, a glorious tale. . . . It will be hard to equal this amazing book.” —Anthony Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
“Caro has a unique place among American political biographers. He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured.” –The Boston Globe
“Caro has changed the art of political biography.” —Nicholas von Hoffman
“Mesmerizing. . . . [It] brings LBJ blazing into the Senate. . . . A tale rife with drama and hypnotic in the telling.” —Newsweek
“Caro’s immersion in the man and period yields a fascinating, entertaining abundance.. . Master of the Senate splendidly reassembles the U.S. Senate of those years.” —Time
“Brilliant . . . Caro achieves a special tension, too rare in history books but essential in epic poetry: the drama of a hero who is wrestling with his enemies, his limitations and his fate to achieve something truly lasting . . . In his hands, the obscure fight over legislation becomes nothing less than a battle for the soul of America . . .It’s a terribly important work, unblinkingly delineating the inner workings of our democracy.”—Chicago Tribune
“A masterpiece . . . Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.” —The Times (London)
“An epic tale of winning and wielding power.” —Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A wonderful, a glorious tale. It will be hard to equal this amazing book. I went back over chapters to make sure I had not missed a word." —Anthony Lewis, New York Times Book Review
"Caro must be America's greatest living Presidential biographer . . . He entrances us with both his words and his research . . . No other contemporary biographer offers such a complex picture of the forces driving an American politician, or populates his work with such vividly drawn secondary characters.” —Richard S. Dunham, BusinessWeek
"Brilliant . . .A riveting political drama.” —Douglas Brinkley, Boston Globe
“The most complete portrait of the Senate ever drawn.” —Michael Wolff, New York
“A terrific study of power politics.”—Steve Neal, Chicago Sun-Times
“In this fascinating book, Robert Caro does more than carry forward his epic life of Lyndon Johnson. With compelling narrative power and with remarkable subtlety and sensitivity, he illuminates the Senate of the United States and its byzantine power struggles. In this historical tour-de-force, Robert Caro shows himself the true 'master of the Senate.' "—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr
“ Master of the Senate and its two preceding volumes are the highest expression of biography as art. After The Path to Power and Means of Ascent, there shouldn't be much debate about Caro's grand achievement, but let's be clear about this nonetheless: In terms of political biography, not only does it not get better than this, it can't.” —Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman
"These [legislative battles] are great stories, the stuff of the legends of democracy--rich in character, plot, suspense, nuttiness, human frailty, maddening stupidity. These should be the American sagas; these should be our epics. Bob Caro has given us a beauty, and I think we owe him great thanks."—Molly Ivins, New York Observer
“Indefatigably researched and brilliantly written . . . Powerful . . . One of Caro’s most valuable contributions is his excavation of the lost art of legislating . . . Rich and rewarding.’ —Ronald Brownstein, Times Literary Supplement
“Epic . . . It is impossible to imagine that a political science class on the U.S. Congress can be taught today that does not reference this book. It is a florid and graphic account of how Congress works, an authoritative work on the history of the Senate and a virtual cookbook of recipes for legislative success for the nascent politician.”—Robert F. Julian, New York Law Journal
"A panoramic study of how power plays out in the legislative arena. Combining the best techniques of investigative reporting with majestic storytelling ability, Caro has created a vivid, revelatory institutional history as well as a rich hologram of Johnson's character . . . He seems to have perfectly captured and understood Johnson’s capacity for greatness."--Jill Abramson, New York Times
" Master of the Senate forces us not only to rewrite our national political history but to rethink it as well . . . Caro's been burrowing beneath the shadows of the substance of our politics for more than twenty-eight years, and what he finds is both fascinating and surprising . . . Compulsively readable.”--Eric Alterman, The Nation
"A spectacular piece of historical biography, delicious reading for both political junkies and serious students of the political process . . . . Fascinating."--Robert D. Novak, The Weekly Standard
"Vintage Caro--a portrait so deft, vivid, and compelling that you practically feel LBJ gripping your arm and bending you to his will." --Jean Strouse
"Of all the many Johnson biographies, none approaches Caro's work in painstaking thoroughness, meticulous detail and the capture of character . . . A dazzling tour de force that certifies Caro as the country's preeminent specialist in examining political power and its uses."--Paul Duke, Baltimore Sun
"Masterful . . . A work of genius."--Steve Weinberg, New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Caro writes history with [a] novelist’s sensitivity . . . No historian offers a more vivid sense not onl of what happened, but what it looked like and felt like.”--Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
“The richly cadenced prose is hypnotic, the research prodigious, the analysis acute, the mood spellbinding, and the cast of characters mythic in scale. I cannot conceive of a better book about Capitol Hill. An unforgettable, epic achievement in the art of biography."--Ron Chernow
“Destined to rank among the great political profiles of our time. Master of the Senate succeeds only in part because Johnson is such a fascinating figure. The other half of the equation is Caro.” --Steve Kraske, Kansas City Star
“It is, quite simply, the finest biography I have ever read. It is more than that: it is one of the finest works of literature I have encountered.”--Irvine Welsh, New Statesman
"Caro is a gifted and passionate writer, and his all-encompassing apporach to understanding LBJ provides readers with a panoramic history of twentieth-century American politics as well as a compelling discourse on the nature and uses of political power . . . One of the best analyses of the legislative process ever written."--Philip A. Klinkner, The Nation