Andtruth Danielson's Reviews > Means of Ascent

Means of Ascent by Robert A. Caro
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Oct 15, 2009

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Read in October, 2009

Lyndon Johnson cheats and steals his way to victory in the 1948 Texas Senate race against the honestly-reputationed Coke Stevenson. LBJ's crooked big-money techniques will be recognized by anyone who follows modern politics, and one of the laudatory dust-jacket quotes says the book perfectly captured what it's like to be a politician. And yet we know that ultimately this amoral hustler will become the man to sign the eminently moral Civl Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Some activists say that in order to beat an oppressive system you need to get as down and dirty as it is, and they are thinking of Lyndon Johnson when they say this, whether they realize it or not. Most activists say that to beat an oppressive system you need to be the change you want to see in the world, and they will find no comfort here. The author's style, which presents characters in a light that is both epic and unromanticized, is perfect for a story of big Texas politics.

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