Leslie's Reviews > Master of the Senate

Master of the Senate by Robert A. Caro
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's review
Jan 19, 2009

really liked it
Recommended for: people interested in US politics

This is an excellent book on two levels: it sheds light on the character of Lyndon Johnson and it reveals the intricate workings of the US Senate. I was appalled by the side of LBJ that Caro uncovers. He was an ego-maniacal bully who used physical intimidation and lies to manipulate those around him. He was the youngest Senator to hold the position of Senate majority leader and he was truly masterful at claiming and wielding the power that came with that position. The book uses the famous Civil Rights legislation as the main example of how Johnson used his power to accomplish his goal, which ultimately, was purely personal and power-based.
I loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at how the Senate is run. It's amazing how these people find a way to work together or get anything accomplished given their egos and personal goals and constituency expectations. The Economist ran an article recently about how dynastic the Senate has been historically and it truly seems that nothing has changed in that regard. I'm interested in reading more about the workings of this group, both historically and now.
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