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An introduction to the life and history of lyndon johnson

Some people - white people - didn't, or couldn't, understand what she meant. They should probably read this book, for while it is a dense, incredibly detailed chronicle of Lyndon Johnson's Senate years, it is also the story of civil rights in America. It's a disgusting story.

  1. Richard Nixon eked out a narrow victory over Hubert Humphrey. In 1931, Johnson became a staff assistant to Representative Richard Kleberg and, with a short two-year interlude, he would remain in Washington, D.
  2. So far, it is the longest of the three.
  3. He was buried at the place he felt most at home.
  4. You had to accept him warts and all.
  5. Which, of course, makes for an incredibly interesting life story.

There were times I was so infuriated r As I was reading this book, I thought back to our recent election, and to a minor flap that occurred when Michelle Obama said she was "proud" of America for the first time in her life.

There were times I was so infuriated reading this book I had to put it down and have a drink. I wanted to go find Strom Thurmond's grave, and piss on it. Voltaire once wrote that "history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

Master of the Senate continues Robert Caro's hot streak. So far, it is the longest of the three.

  • Beginning in 1965, student demonstrations grew larger and more frequent and helped to stimulate resistance to the draft;
  • Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection that year;
  • Caro goes into incredible, at times excruciating detail, as to how Johnson, in order to become a presidential contender Caro notes that when Johnson's ambition coincided with the chance to do good, America benefited cut this Gordian knot;
  • He argues that Johnson felt pressured by many politicians he viewed as hawkish, including Robert Kennedy;
  • The books in this series give valuable short introductions and assessments to each of our presidents;
  • Johnson talking with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Caro has done a superb, almost lawyerly job of maintaining his thesis on Johnson: I've previously noted that the first two volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson were extraordinary for the disdain with which Caro treated his subject.

Johnson came off as a small man of amorphous ideals, willing to lie and cheat to get what he desired most: Caro starts to soften on Johnson is this book, noting that whatever shenanigans he took part in to get power, in the end, he used that power for righteousness.

Master of the Senate

He was, as Caro notes, the greatest champion of civil rights to ever hold high office. Indeed, he takes his place with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King as the most effective civil rights leaders in history.

Whatever else you say about Johnson, he has the Great Society as his legacy, and that ain't nothing.

Master of the Senate is a long book; at times, the amount of information is overwhelming. It begins with a long discourse on the history of the US Senate. While it sometimes felt that this history, while interesting, was just Caro showing off as an historian, his point becomes clear.

The way the Senate is set up, with its arcane parliamentary rules, makes it a bulwark - what Caro calls a "dam" - against change. By design, the Senate is meant to maintain the status quo by giving the minority - in the case of civil rights, the South - an inordinate amount of power to keep things from getting done.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Part of the reason this book is so long is Caro's constant rehashing of previously-told events. This is why I called the book lawyerly. For even though it is brilliantly, at times beautifully written, it also is making a point.

  • He represented his district in the House for most of the next 12 years, interrupting his legislative duties for six months in 1941—42 to serve as lieutenant commander in the navy—thereby becoming the first member of Congress to serve on active duty in World War II;
  • Eugene McCarthy declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, an unprecedented affront to a sitting president, and Robert Kennedy announced his own candidacy soon thereafter;
  • A moderate Democrat and vigorous leader in the United States Senate , Johnson was elected vice president in 1960 and acceded to the presidency in 1963 upon the assassination of Pres;
  • I'll be reading the rest of this series- if This is how I like my biographies:

Caro has a thesis, and he uses and reuses events from Johnson's life to make this point. This is both good and bad: It's what they teach you in legal writing: Like his other Johnson books, Caro spends a lot of time fleshing out the peripheral characters, though oddly enough, Lady Bird and Johnson's children are seldom mentioned. Instead, we are treated to a lengthy biography of one of humanity's great and unknown villains: Lee, was a courtly, well-spoken gentleman who stood on the side of evil and yet, because of his patrician nature, somehow gets a pass from history.

Though he is an excellent historian, this is not a purely objective book, and some passages on Russell drip with contempt and scorn. Of course, scorn is the least that Russell deserves. There is also a chapter devoted to Minnesota's finest, the liberal lion Hubert Horatio Humphrey, whom Senator Paul Douglas called "the orator of the dawn.

I'm assuming that Johnson's eventual vice-president will get a lot more print in the next volume. A lot is packed into this mammoth book: Of course, the great event, the singular event around which all other events orbited, the aptly named Great Cause, was the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Bill.

The Bill was weak and near meaningless. Indeed, Johnson was assailed at the time for helping to gut it. Yet it was the first civil rights bill passed in the Senate since 1875; all other attempts had been filibustered by the South. Caro goes into incredible, at times excruciating detail, as to how Johnson, in order to become a presidential contender Caro notes that when Johnson's ambition coincided with the chance to do good, America benefited cut this Gordian knot.

There is no way to summarize the labyrinthine maneuvers required to get even a weak civil rights bill through the Senate, yet Caro manages to make even the Byzantine rules of the Senate understandable. The book's sharp focus on the Senate years means that you lose out a lot on Johnson's personal life, though Caro does spend some time dwelling on his affair with Helen Gahagan Douglas. Also, interestingly, Jack Kennedy has almost no role whatsoever.

  • In 1955, likely as a result of stress, smoking, and heavy drinking, he suffered a major heart attack;
  • Peters' book focuses on how this escalation came about;
  • In one afternoon Johnson had been thrust into the most difficult—and most prized—role of his long political career.

This leads to my final thought: I know The Years of Lyndon Johnson was initially conceived as a trilogy and has been adjusted to a quadrilogy; now, I think Caro should admit that he's going to need two more books.