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Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Book Review)
Amazon.Com ^ | H. O'Billovich

Posted on 04/05/2002 7:29:37 AM PST by PJ-Comix

Amazon.com
Robert Caro's Master of the Senate examines in meticulous detail Lyndon Johnson's career in that body, from his arrival in 1950 (after 12 years in the House of Representatives) until his election as JFK's vice president in 1960. This, the third of a projected four-volume series, studies not only the pragmatic, ruthless, ambitious Johnson, who wielded influence with both consummate skill and "raw, elemental brutality," but also the Senate itself, which Caro describes (pre-1957) as a "cruel joke" and an "impregnable stronghold" against social change. The milestone of Johnson's Senate years was the 1957 Civil Rights Act, whose passage he single-handedly engineered. As important as the bill was--both in and of itself and as a precursor to wider-reaching civil rights legislation--it was only close to Johnson's Southern "anti-civil rights" heart as a means to his dream: the presidency. Caro writes that not only does power corrupt, it "reveals," and that's exactly what this massive, scrupulously researched book does. A model of social, psychological, and political insight, it is not just masterful; it is a masterpiece.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: lyndonbjohnson; robertcaro
I have never looked forward to a book with as much anticipation as I am to Master of the Senate. I just wish that Mr. O'Billovich could have given us a few more details. Okay, you thought it was a masterpiece? Great! But do you care to tell us WHY???!!!

Sorry for venting here but I FAXED the Knopf company and asked for a book review copy of Master Of The Senate and never heard back from them. Hey, Knopf, so what is Ol' PJ here? Chopped liver? I already posted on the world's BUSIEST forum (FR) about why I thought Caro's previous two volumes were the GREATEST political biographies ever written so I was sort of hoping that Knopf would have sent me a book review copy so that I could review this book for you in MORE DETAIL than O'Billovich. Anybody out there with connections with Knopf publishing? If so tell them to get their A** in gear and send me a book review copy of this book. You can Freep Mail me with the good news on this....if you have any.

1 posted on 04/05/2002 7:29:37 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Lyndon Johnson was either going to be one of the most corrupt, low-down politicians that ever lived, or the most successful used car salesman of all time. Unfortunately for all of us, he chose politics.

Just got finished reading a book on George Wallace. The author describes in detail a conversation LBJ had with Wallace in which he used the "n" word numerous times. Hardly the sort of behavior one would expect from a hero of the civil rights establishment.

2 posted on 04/05/2002 7:33:22 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Zack Nguyen
The first two volumes of the LBJ bio were terrific. He was a real piece of work, full of contradictions (I recently listened to an audiobook of some of his white house tapes, and he said, about appointing Marshall to the Supreme Court, when I put a n****r on the Court, I want em to know he's a n*****r), and Caro is great on the power-corrupting stuff. I would also highly recommend Caro's book on Robert Moses.
3 posted on 04/05/2002 7:40:45 AM PST by triplejake
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To: Zack Nguyen
I used to know George Wallace PERSONALLY. Great guy. Okay, it was the comedian George Wallace out in L.A. but I did know him.

BTW, I am STILL WAITING for my book review copy of Master of the Senate.

4 posted on 04/05/2002 7:42:03 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: triplejake
Caro currently has an essay on LBJ and the 1957 civil rights bill in the New Yorker.

Hey Knopf! WHERE is my book review copy????!!!!

5 posted on 04/05/2002 7:43:46 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: triplejake
Thanks for your comments. Does Caro discuss allegations of bribery involving Johnson and others in the Senate? Any truth to that?
6 posted on 04/05/2002 7:46:12 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Zack Nguyen
Does Caro discuss allegations of bribery involving Johnson and others in the Senate? Any truth to that?

How would triplejake know? The book isn't out yet. I could have answered that question for you if Knopf had sent me a BOOK REVIEW COPY. Now I'll have to line up at the book store with the rest of you shlubs to get this book.

7 posted on 04/05/2002 7:50:26 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I read this a couple weeks back. It really did a smear job on Hubert Humphrey as I recall.
8 posted on 04/05/2002 7:50:30 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: PJ-Comix
I thought LBJ was speaker of the house--not the Senate???
9 posted on 04/05/2002 7:52:21 AM PST by ffrancone
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I read this a couple weeks back.

How did you get this book when it isn't due out until April 23? Did you get a book review copy? How come you rate an advance copy but I don't????

10 posted on 04/05/2002 7:52:40 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: ffrancone
I thought LBJ was speaker of the house--not the Senate???

Not even close. LBJ's career in the House was rather lackluster. He rarely even spoke on the floor. It was in the Senate where he really bloomed. However, he was VERY CLOSE to Sam Rayburn who was Speaker of the House.

.....Still waiting for my BOOK REVIEW COPY!!!

11 posted on 04/05/2002 7:54:53 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Oswald wacked the wrong guy 11-22-63.
12 posted on 04/05/2002 8:05:29 AM PST by boomop1
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To: summer
Any chance that Jeb Bush can get me this book review copy before I burn up with JEALOUS RAGE against anybody who gets to read this book before me?

p.s. No Jeb Bushes were harmed as a result of my jealous outbursts.

13 posted on 04/05/2002 8:07:28 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I agree with you that the first two volumes were outstanding. In the first, Johnson is shown as a man of his era and place, with even some sympathy. In the second, his naked ambition and lack of character is fully shown to take him down the path of personal and political power and corruption. Anyone wanting to see the effects of political power and how it intertwines with character, should read these first. I wonder if we will have to wait another nine years for the fourth volume?
14 posted on 04/05/2002 8:17:40 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
If anybody from Knopf is out there, please click on my Screen Name to get my e-mail address and then send me a message asking me for my address where you can sent the book review copy.

I'm waiting......

15 posted on 04/05/2002 8:18:51 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: KC Burke
In the first, Johnson is shown as a man of his era and place, with even some sympathy.

The chapter in that book about rural electrification in Texas was OUTSTANDING. It really made me not take electrical power for granted any longer. Also it took what seemed like a banal subject and made it absolutely FASCINATING.

In the second, his naked ambition and lack of character is fully shown to take him down the path of personal and political power and corruption.

Johnson had the senate election stolen from him by Governor Pappy "Pass the Biscuits" O'Daniel (who was transplanted to Mississipi in "O Brother Where Art Thou?") and a few years later Johnson in turn stole the senate election from Coke Stevenson.

16 posted on 04/05/2002 8:24:17 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
There was an article in the New Yorker about how LBJ "worked" Hubert Humphrey so he could advance his political career. I read the article. Not the book.
17 posted on 04/05/2002 8:27:08 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I read the article. Not the book.

Good. Now you're off my Hate List.

18 posted on 04/05/2002 8:35:19 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I just had to read the Sad Irons chapter of Caro's book for a course at school. I was dreading it (who the hell wants to read about some democrat party schlub?), but it was really great. I'm planning to go buy all three and read them this summer...
19 posted on 04/05/2002 8:39:17 AM PST by ewchil
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To: ewchil
I just had to read the Sad Irons chapter of Caro's book for a course at school.

Refresh my memory. Which volume and what was the chapter about?

20 posted on 04/05/2002 8:45:39 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I'm not sure which volume (the first I think) but it's all about how cruddy life is in the Hill Country because there is no electricity. All about water, and wood, and work, and dirt, and kerosene lamps. It was engrossing.
21 posted on 04/05/2002 10:39:58 AM PST by ewchil
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To: ewchil
That was in the first volume and was the chapter about rural electrification that I mentioned was outstanding. Funny that a subject that would seem mundane turned out to be so interesting. Kudos to the writing skills of Robert Caro!
22 posted on 04/05/2002 2:43:43 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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