Means of Ascent
This was the time between his first failed senate run, during a special election, and his second, successful senate run, which culminated in the famed "87 votes that changed America." During these 7 years ...more
I ended up liking this book a bit more, even, than Caro's first volume (The Path to Power). In this second volume, Caro really seemed to hit his strid ...more
- Robert A. Caro, Means of Ascent, quoting Coke Stephenson
This was a different book from Caro's Vol. 1 of the Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. 'The Path to Power' detailed the rise and early history of LBJ. It set the table. It showed L ...more
“Means of Ascent” covers seven years of Johnson’s life, comprising his brief (and greatly aggrandized) career in the Navy in World War II and the beginnings of his considerable fortune through ownersh ...more
“Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson” is the second volume in Robert Caro’s series covering the life of Lyndon B. Johnson. Caro is a former investigative reporter and the author of two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies: “Master of the Senate” (the third volume in this series) and “The Power Broker” about the life of Robert Moses. Caro is currently working on the fifth (and, presumably, final) volume in his LBJ series.
Published in 1990, “Means of ...more
Texas at the time was a one-party state – with the ...more
Coming in at 412 actual reading pages (not counting notes and index) this volume is approximately half the length of Volume 1, The Path to Power. It c ...more
This volume covers the years in between Johnson's first (failed) attempt at a Senate position and his eventual victory over Coke Stevenson to earn one in 1949. As Caro describes in the immersive introductory chapter, these were Johnson's "dark years". These were the years in which he took a backseat to politics and built up a fortune, ...more
The author chronicles the life of LBJ from 1941 to 1948 in 3 acts:
- His record as a naval officer in the Pacific (where Johnson spent a total of 13 minutes in combat zone despite all the fake stories he made up to appeal to Texas voters)
- His acquisition of a radio station to make some money outside of politics
- the 1948 democratic senate race against Coke Stevenson
I enjoy reading Caro for his taste of details and description of Texas politics. Only minor critic is that Stevenson i ...more
I now assume the worst for every athlete at the top.
LBJ is a similar experience, with the difference that his omerta is much larger, so many more people involved, and that there was so much more at stake.
I guess I could limit my conclusion to saying that Texans are liars. And that is at least partly true.
I'm on to vol. III. I took one star off simply because I felt Caro unnecessar ...more
Spoiler Alert: This book is not for the politically squeamish nor the faint of heart.
This is the fourth biography I have read about LBJ. It is also the second of four (a promised fifth still to come) focused on LBJ's life by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author, Robert Caro. Like all of LBJ's biographers, Caro must come to grip with the man's insatiable need to be in control - unlike the other biographers I have read ...more
That is certainly what Means of Ascent feels like. The essential plot point is that in 1948, Lyndon Johnson steals a Senate election from Cok ...more
#ccspin nr 18
This book was about LBJ but it did spur me on
...to learn more about the defeated candidate
in the 1948 race for Texas senator...
'Coke' Stevens and the democratic political boss
that put LBJ in the 1948 senate:
The Duke of Duval...George Berham Parr
That said, Caro is clearly a master b ...more
As with his first volume, Caro glues it all together with his themes, chief among them this time being the Old Politics embodied by Coke Stevenson versus the New Politics pioneered by Johnson. Caro states his themes often (e.g., Johnson's "morality which is amorality"), and in a lot of books that sort of th ...more
I loved the first volume of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power. I’d ever read a better biography. I’ve still never read a better one but I’ve now read one that’s just as good.
This book really succeeds because it’s essentially four stories in one book.
Chapters 1–5 are the story of Johnson’s later years in Congress and what he did during World War II. (Johnson spent most of the war avoid danger and then flew into danger, literally, at the last minute in order to have some...more
Caro has also written four biographies ...more