The Passage of Power

The Passage of Power

Book - 2013
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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD,  THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE, THE MARK LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE, THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY AMERICAN HISTORY BOOK PRIZE

  ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR  The Economist * Time *Newsweek * Foreign Policy * Business Week * The Week * The Christian Science Monitor * Newsday


The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and most triumphant period of his career--1958 to 1964. An unparalleled account of the battle between Johnson and John Kennedy for the 1960 presidential nomination, of the machinations behind Kennedy's decision to offer Johnson the vice presidency, and of Johnson's powerlessness and humiliation in that role. With the superlative skills of a master storyteller, Caro exposes the savage animosity between Johnson and Robert Kennedy, portraying one of America's great political feuds.
     In Caro's description of the Kennedy assassination, which The New York Times called "the most riveting ever," we see the events of November 22, 1963, for the first time through Lyndon Johnson's eyes. And we watch as his political genius enables him to grasp the reins of the presidency with total command, and, within weeks, make it wholly his own, surmounting unprecedented obstacles in order to fulfill the highest purpose of the office. It is an epic story, displaying all the narrative energy and illuminating insight that led the Times of London to acclaim The Years of Lyndon Johnson as "one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age."

Publisher: New York : 2013
Edition: First Vintage Books edition
ISBN: 9780375713255
Branch Call Number: B 973.923092 JOHN
Characteristics: xix, 712 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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pokano
Aug 31, 2015

After taking a hiatus of a few months from Caro's LBJ series, I finally returned to read the most current book, Passage of Power. If I could give half stars, I'd give it a 3.5. The part about the assassination and LBJ's reaction to it are masterful: I learned a lot I hadn't know before, and the writing was so engrossing, I had a hard time turning off my Kindle. The discussion about the feud between LBJ and RFK was also well done: both men come off looking like playground whiners. What disappointed me was the description about how the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was passed. While LBJ's grand strategy was pretty well explained, the drama leading up to the actual passage through the Senate is missing. It's as if Caro had a book deadline to meet and decided to skip over this critical part of American history. And there's very little mention of the Voting Rights Act, or Medicare, etc. Maybe that's in the upcoming book, but I was left with the impression that that book will deal primarily with what ultimately brought LBJ down--Vietnam. We'll see if those society-changing acts will be discussed more fully in that volume. In any event, given the incredible detail that Caro typically has given us, I thought that this book didn't do justice to one of the two the most important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since the Civil War.

christiefox Jan 27, 2013

What a masterful book! This is a long, worthwhile read into a fairly short period of Johnson's life. I wasn't that interested in LBJ before I read this, but now I can't wait for the next volume.

w
wac6
Jun 30, 2012

I loved reading this book, found it engrossing, and couldn't wait to pick it back up again every time I had to detach over the course of the couple weeks it took me to read it. But I have to say, Caro could use a good copyeditor. The redundancies can be distracting, and his careful work deserves better. The book is (otherwise) very well designed, and fun to hold and turn through, even given how heavy it is (somehow its heft is a feature of the design).

More of my thoughts on this book, here: http://www.wac6.com/wac6/2012/06/robert-caro-needs-1-a-copy-editor-and-2-a-producer-for-his-footnotes.html

mikeyppl Mar 01, 2012

Caro is in his seventies. I hope that we don't have to wait another ten years for the volumn on his presidency.

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