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The Passage of Power Audiobook, by Robert A. Caro Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Robert A. Caro Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781455890538
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The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career — 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark. For the first time, we see the Kennedy assassination through Lyndon Johnson’s eyes. We watch Johnson step into the presidency, inheriting a staff fiercely loyal to his slain predecessor; a Congress determined to retain its power over the executive branch; and a nation in shock and mourning. We see how within weeks — grasping the reins of the presidency with supreme mastery — he propels through Congress essential legislation that at the time of Kennedy’s death seemed hopelessly logjammed and seizes on a dormant Kennedy program to create the revolutionary War on Poverty. Caro makes clear how the political genius with which Johnson had ruled the Senate now enabled him to make the presidency wholly his own. This was without doubt Johnson’s finest hour, before his aspirations and accomplishments were overshadowed and eroded by the trap of Vietnam. It is an epic story told with a depth of detail possible only through the peerless research that forms the foundation of Robert Caro’s work, confirming Nicholas von Hoffman’s verdict that “Caro has changed the art of political biography.” Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “One of the most compelling political narratives of the past half-century…A vivid picture of how political power worked in the US during the middle of the twentieth century at local, state, and national level…This extraordinary work will remain essential reading for decades to come.”

    Financial Times

  • “One of the greatest biographies in the history of American letters.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “An addictive read, written in glorious prose that suggests the world’s most diligent beat reporter channeling William Faulkner. Passage is an essential document of a turning point in American history. It’s also an incisive portrait of one great, terrible, fascinating man suddenly given the chance to reinvent the country in his image.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Making ordinary politics and policymaking riveting and revealing is what makes Caro a genius. Combined with his penetrating insight and fanatical research, Caro’s Churchill-like prose elevates the life of a fairly influential president to stuff worthy of Shakespeare…Reading Caro’s books can feel like encountering the life of an American president for the first time…Caro’s judgment is solid, his prose inspiring, and his research breathtaking…Robert Caro stands alone as the unquestioned master of the contemporary American political biography.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Unrivaled…Caro does not merely recount. He beckons. Single sentences turn into winding, brimming paragraphs, clauses upon clauses tugging at the reader, layering the scenery with character intrigue and the plot with historical import. The result is irresistible…Passage covers with all the artistry and intrigue of a great novel events that are seared in the nation’s memory. In an era defined by fragmented media markets, instantaneous communication, gadflies, and chattering suits, Caro stands not merely apart, but alone.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A great work of history…A great biography…Caro has summoned Lyndon Johnson to vivid, intimate life.”


  • “A compelling narrative…that will thrill those who care about American politics, the foundations of power, or both…Before beginning the Johnson biography, Caro published a life of Robert Moses, The Power Broker (1974), a book many scholars consider a watershed in contemporary biography. The Johnson project deserves equal praise.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Caro infuses his pages with suspense, pathos, bitter rivalry and historic import…Caro’s sprawling, sparkling, theatrical opus…calls to mind a work such as Carl Sandburg’s six-volume life of Abraham Lincoln, which also took years of prodigious labor and displayed, as the historian James G. Randall wrote, ‘a poet’s sense of language…and an ability to combine realistic detail with emotional appreciation.’”

    Washington Post

  • “A breathtakingly dramatic story [told] with consummate artistry and ardor…It showcases Mr. Caro’s masterly gifts as a writer: his propulsive sense of narrative, his talent for enabling readers to see and feel history in the making, and his ability to situate his subjects’ actions within the context of their times…Mr. Caro uses his storytelling gifts to turn seemingly arcane legislative maneuvers into action-movie suspense, and he gives us unparalleled understanding.”

    New York Times

  • “Brilliant…Important…Remarkable…With this fascinating and meticulous account Robert Caro has once again done America a great service.”

    President Bill Clinton

  • “By dramatizing the capacities and limitations of the most talented politician of the postwar era, Caro aims to make readers shrewder citizens…As a student of power, Caro is a Machiavelli for democrats, who instead of addressing the prince, addresses the people.”


  • “Almost without question the greatest political biography in modern times…Nobody goes deeper, works harder, or produces more penetrating insights than [Caro].”

    Austin American-Statesman

  • “Caro’s masterpiece of biography…His strength as a biographer is his ability to probe Johnson’s mind and motivations…Riveting…A roller-coaster tale.”


  • “Robert Caro is the essential chronicler of these times: And these times should never be forgotten.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “Riveting…Masterful…An insightful account of what it means and what it takes to occupy the Oval Office.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “A major event in biography, history, even publishing itself…Caro has once more combined prodigious research and a literary gift to mount a stage for his Shakespearean figures: LBJ, JFK, and LBJ’s nemesis Robert F. Kennedy.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Riveting…Shakespearean…It’s a roller-coaster narrative…Caro’s tormented, heroic Johnson makes an apt embodiment of an America struggling toward epochal change, one with a fascinating resonance in our era of gridlocked government.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A portrait of executive leadership so evocative as to be tactile.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Epic…A searing account of ambition derailed by personal demons…A triumphant drama of ‘political genius in action’…Caro combines the skills of a historian, an investigative reporter, and a novelist in this searching study of the transformative effect of power.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “My book of the year, by a landslide majority, was The Passage of Power. The adjective ‘Shakespearean’ is overused and mostly undeserved but not in this case. LBJ emerges from this biography as a fully rounded tragic hero: cowardly and brave, petty and magnificent, vindictive and noble, a man of vaunting ambition and profound insecurities. Caro marries profound psychological insight with a brilliant eye for the drama of the times.”

    Guardian (London)

  • Winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A USA Today bestseller
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Biography
  • Winner of the 2012 American History Book Prize
  • A 2012 Economist Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Time Magazine Book of the Year for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Newsday’s Favorite Books of the Year for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book of Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2012 National Book Award Finalist
  • A 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

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About the Author

Robert A. Caro has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award multiple times, as well as also winning virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that “exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist.” In 2010 President Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal. Caro lives in New York City with his wife.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over a thousand titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.