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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LBJ Bio...

I recenlty read the first volumn of Robert Caro's four (soon to be five) bio of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power. To be fully honest, LBJ, in my humble opinion, is the worse president in the history of the republic. When I am asked why, my answer always starts with, "I'll give you fifty-eight thousand reasons, their names are on a wall in Washington D.C."

That being said, this book is phenomenal. A very detailed story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered. In this book, one is brought as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.

The Path to Power is the first volumn, and it's been on my "to read" shelve for over 2 years. The next three (Means of Accent, The Passage of Power, and Master of the Senate) are on the shelf and will be read in the next year.

Now the good news. The fifth volumn is coming!

An epic biography is nearing its close. Slowly but surely.

Those waiting for the fifth and final planned installment of Robert A. Caro’s award-winning life of Lyndon B. Johnson might be both heartened and frustrated by the historian’s most recent update on his progress.

In an interview recorded in New York on May 18 with C-Span’s Brian Lamb (to air on the news channel sometime this summer), Mr. Caro said he had most of the research and 400 typed pages of the manuscript for the next book done. But “one more big thing” remains, he said: A trip to Vietnam.

Mr. Caro lived in the Texas Hill Country while writing and researching the first volume, which covered Johnson’s youth.

“I’m not going to change the way I do it just because I’m getting older,” Mr. Caro, 81, said of the process. “I don’t know what the point would be of that.”

He continued: “I want to go to the great battlefields of Hue. I want to describe — there are a number of good books on this, but I always want to go for myself — what it’s like to fight in the jungle, because that’s really something we hadn’t really encountered.” He added, “There’s a lot of stuff I want to do.”

I hope to hear of a publication date soon!

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