National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2002
Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 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, cajoling and threatening 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.
"A panoramic study....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." ( The New York Times)
"Caro must be America's greatest living Presidential biographer....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." ( BusinessWeek)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Paul on 27-05-10
A proper in-depth, detailed book
Really excellent from start to finish. This is an unbiast, honest review which goes into great detail. I really enjoyed the book and I wish that all history books were as unbiast as this one. Really very good overall. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Hoppie on 15-03-14
combine these into one book
Any additional comments?
Needless to say - a masterpiece. But this book is inexplicably broken into three purchases (well, I can think of an explanation). The first two equally long volumes were one audiobook per. I wish they would do the same for Master of the Senate.
37 of 38 people found this review helpful
By Darwin8u on 04-10-17
Junior Senator from Texas Learns the Ropes
The first 1/3 examines the history of the Senate and the rise of the seniority system and the South's dominance in the Senate leadership. It examines LBJ's entrance into the Senate and his struggles to fit in and find his place. It then examines Richard Russell (the guy they named the Russell Senate building after) and his family's history and his history and rise to power in the US Senate. Why? Because Senator Russell was to become the key to LBJ's success in the Senate. The first 1/3 of the book examines how LBJ used many of the same techniques to develop a relationship with Russell that in his House years he used with Sam Rayburn (LBJ had a way with older men with power: Rayburn, Russell, LBJ). The first 1/3 ends with LBJ destroying the career and reputation of Leland Olds when he was re-appointed to head the FPC (Federal Power Commission) in 1949. In doing so, LBJ was able to gain some more cred with Texas' oil industry and with his Southern fellow senators. The last bit of the first section also details Johnson's use of his "Preparedness Investigating" subcommittee (similar to the one used by Truman during WWII) in order to raise his name recognition during the beginning of the Korean War. Caro contrasts the way that LBJ ran the committee with the way that Truman ran his.
Quick note - my two star review for performance has nothing to do with Grover Gardner's read. He did a fantastic job. I'm just pissed at Audible or the producers for dividing this book into 3 sections. Instead of one book that is 54 hrs and 50 minutes long, they divided it into three books (thus three credits). They did this with Michael Burlingame's Lincoln too (but to be fair Burlingame's Lincoln = 109 hrs and 9 minutes). They didn't do it for any of Caro's other LBJ books. They didn't do it with Caro's The Power Broker (66 hrs and 11 mins). I get it that they need to pay for a huge book to get recorded and produced. So? Charge me 2 credits, but breaking it into 18 and 16 hours segments to extract 3 credits seems obnoxious. It isn't as bad as what they originally did with Burlingame's Lincoln. I think that book was originally broken down into 12 (TWELVE!!!) audiobooks with some being only 4 hrs and 34 minutes. That's my only beef really with this book. Brilliant. Well-read. One of the best biographies EVER written.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful