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Extended Audio Sample Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Part III, by Robert A. Caro Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,939 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert A. Caro Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Book three in Robert A. Caro’s monumental work, The Years of Lyndon Johnson—the most admired and riveting political biography of our era—which began with the bestselling and prizewinning The Path to Power and Means of Ascent

Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson’s story through one of its most remarkable periods: his twelve years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. At the heart of the book is its unprecedented revelation of how legislative power works in America, how the Senate works, and how Johnson, in his ascent to the presidency, mastered the Senate as no political leader before him had ever done.

Caro demonstrates how Johnson’s political genius enabled him to reconcile the unreconcilable: to retain the support of the southerners who controlled the Senate while earning the trust—or at least the cooperation—of the liberals, led by Paul Douglas and Hubert Humphrey, without whom he could not achieve his goal of winning the presidency. He shows the dark side of Johnson’s ambition: how he proved his loyalty to the great oil barons who had financed his rise to power by ruthlessly destroying the career of the New Dealer who was in charge of regulating them, Federal Power Commission chairman Leland Olds. And we watch him achieve the impossible: convincing southerners that although he was firmly in their camp as the anointed successor to their leader, Richard Russell, it was essential that they allow him to make some progress toward civil rights. In a breathtaking tour de force, Caro details Johnson’s amazing triumph in maneuvering to passage the first civil rights legislation since 1875.

Master of the Senate is told with an abundance of rich detail that could only have come from Caro’s peerless research—years immersed in the worlds of Johnson and the United States Senate, examining thousands of documents and talking to hundreds of people, from pages and cloakroom clerks to senators and administrative aides. The result is both a galvanizing portrait of the man himself—the titan of Capitol Hill, volcanic, mesmerizing—and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings of personal and legislative power.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography
  • A 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Srinivas Varadarajan | 2/20/2014

    " One of the best books I have read...Robert Caro's research is impressive...he deserved the award... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Spencer Hall | 2/12/2014

    " Easily one of the finest books I have ever read. Looking forward very much to the final two volumes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rick | 2/10/2014

    " One of the best biographies I have ever read. A firmer editorial hand would have reduced the bulk of this monstrous volume. (We get it: Johnson's support for civil rights waxed and waned with what his ambition required at any given moment. Johnson liked poor people and minorities, but he loved power most of all.) The book is worth it for Caro's portrait of Richard Russell alone, not to mention sketches of dozens of minor characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Denae | 2/8/2014

    " I knew practically nothing about Lyndon Johnson when I started to read this. Other than knowing he was in office when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, and having a deep familiarity with the employment law aspects of that act, I knew little about him other than his "Great Society" legislation, and even that vaguely. This book chronicles, with great detail, his time in Congress, particularly that time he spent in the Senate. I am not certain I have ever taken so long to read a single book, but this was a very dense read. While Caro's political views become clear at various points throughout, I never felt he was saying things that were unjustified, in part due to the extremely thorough documentation. That being said, he made the story compelling and the people involved real. He avoided the twin traps of many biographies; he was neither apologist nor accuser. He sometimes ranged towards one side or the other, but overall I come away with the impression of a well-balanced view of an extraordinarily fascinating man. "

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