Joe's Reviews > Means of Ascent

Means of Ascent by Robert A. Caro
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's review
Feb 23, 11

Read in March, 2009

Awesome. This is the most riveting volume of the Caro LBJ trilogy. The chapter on Box 13 alone is worth the price of this book. LBJ learned a lesson when he lost the Senate race to Pappy O'Daniel in 1938- Don't call-in all your votes until the other side has called-in all theirs.FDR would later joke with him about this. He didn't let that mistake happen again in 1948. Little did he know he'd have to "manufacture" a few votes, then hide a few more to beat out former Governor Coke Stevenson by less than 100 votes to win a Senate seat and save his flagging political career. It was an incident that changed the course of not just Texas, but US politics for the next 2 decades. A fascinating look at mid-20th century Texas machine politics- $5 a vote, stolen ballot boxes, and all sorts of other shennanigans. It shows that LBJ may have been the most shrewed and ruthless politician in US history.
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