Master of the Senate eBook · Master of MOBI :Ú

Master of the Senate eBook · Master of MOBI :Ú


    Master of the Senate eBook · Master of MOBI :Ú years, fromthrough , in the United States Senate Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation Caro shows how Johnson s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction Brilliantly weaving rich detail into a gripping narrative, Caro gives us both a galvanizing portrait of Johnson himself and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings of legislative power."/>
  • Paperback
  • 1167 pages
  • Master of the Senate
  • Robert A. Caro
  • English
  • 09 May 2019
  • 0394720954

10 thoughts on “Master of the Senate

  1. Matt Matt says:

    As I was reading this book, I thought back to our recent election, and to a minor flap that occurred when Michelle Obama said she was proud of America for the first time in her life Some people white people didn t, or couldn t, understand what she meant They should probably read this book, for while it is a dense, incredibly detailed chronicle of Lyndon Johnson s Senate years, it is also the story of civil rights in America It s a disgusting story There were times I was so infuriated r As I was reading this book, I thought back to our recent election, and to a minor flap that occurred when Michelle Obama said she was proud of America for the first time in her life Some people white people didn t, or couldn t, understand what she meant They should probably read this book, for while it is a dense, incredibly detailed chronicle of Lyndon Johnson s Senate years, it is also the story of civil rights in America It s a disgusting story There were times I was so infuriated reading this book I had to put it down and have a drink I wanted to go find Strom Thurmond s grave, and piss on it Voltaire once wrote that history is nothingthan a tableau of crimes and misfortunes That just about sums of the United States Senate and its obstruction, for almost 100 years, of any meaningful civil rights legislation Master of the Senate continues Robert Caro s hot streak So far, it is the longest of the three While I still consider Path to Power the best I really loved the chapter on Rayburn , Master is a close second Caro has done a superb, almost lawyerly job of maintaining his thesis on Johnson a crass, brown nosing, devious, sneaky, weaselly power grabber who, once he had accumulated great power, decided to wield it for what amounted to an absolute good I ve previously noted that the first two volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson were extraordinary for the disdain with which Caro treated his subject Johnson came off as a small man of amorphous ideals, willing to lie and cheat to get what he desired most power Johnson s story reminds me of Napoleon s dictum that accumulation of power requires absolute pettiness, while exercise of power requires true greatness Caro starts to soften on Johnson is this book, noting that whatever shenanigans he took part in to get power, in the end, he used that power for righteousness He was, as Caro notes, the greatest champion of civil rights to ever hold high office Indeed, he takes his place with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King as the most effective civil rights leaders in history Whatever else you say about Johnson, he has the Great Society as his legacy, and that ain t nothing Master of the Senate is a long book at times, the amount of information is overwhelming It begins with a long discourse on the history of the US Senate While it sometimes felt that this history, while interesting, was just Caro showing off as an historian, his point becomes clear The way the Senate is set up, with its arcane parliamentary rules, makes it a bulwark what Caro calls a dam against change By design, the Senate is meant to maintain the status quo by giving the minority in the case of civil rights, the South an inordinate amount of power to keep things from getting done Part of the reason this book is so long is Caro s constant rehashing of previously told events This is why I called the book lawyerly For even though it is brilliantly, at times beautifully written, it also is making a point Caro has a thesis, and he uses and reuses events from Johnson s life to make this point This is both good and bad bad because you keep going over the same stories, the same quotes good because it sticks in your head It s what they teach you in legal writing start by telling the audience what you are going to say say it then remind your audience what they ve just been told Like his other Johnson books, Caro spends a lot of time fleshing out the peripheral characters, though oddly enough, Lady Bird and Johnson s children are seldom mentioned Unlike the previous two books, there is no hero to stand in contrast to Johnson, as Sam Rayburn did in Path to Power and Coke Stevenson did in Means of Ascent Instead, we are treated to a lengthy biography of one of humanity s great and unknown villains Richard Brevard Russell, a Russell of the Russells of Georgia Russell, like Robert E Lee, was a courtly, well spoken gentleman who stood on the side of evil and yet, because of his patrician nature, somehow gets a pass from history Not from Caro Though he is an excellent historian, this is not a purely objective book, and some passages on Russell drip with contempt and scorn Of course, scorn is the least that Russell deserves There is also a chapter devoted to Minnesota s finest, the liberal lion Hubert Horatio Humphrey, whom Senator Paul Douglas called the orator of the dawn Oddly, though Humphrey is given a big rollout, we don t really learn a lot about him, and though he hovers in the background, his roll is secondary I m assuming that Johnson s eventual vice president will get a lotprint in the next volume A lot is packed into this mammoth book a history of the Senate Humphrey s 1948 convention speech Johnson s sub committee work during the Korean War where he shamelessly self aggrandized Johnson s maneuvering to become a powerful Majority Leader the Senate investigation into the removal of Douglas MacArthur the communist witch hunts of Joe McCarthy Johnson s near fatal heart attack and muchOf course, the great event, the singular event around which all other events orbited, the aptly named Great Cause, was the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Bill The Bill was weak and near meaningless Indeed, Johnson was assailed at the time for helping to gut it Yet it was the first civil rights bill passed in the Senate since 1875 all other attempts had been filibustered by the South Caro goes into incredible, at times excruciating detail, as to how Johnson, in order to become a presidential contender Caro notes that when Johnson s ambition coincided with the chance to do good, America benefited cut this Gordian knot There is no way to summarize the labyrinthine maneuvers required to get even a weak civil rights bill through the Senate, yet Caro manages to make even the Byzantine rules of the Senate understandable The book s sharp focus on the Senate years means that you lose out a lot on Johnson s personal life, though Caro does spend some time dwelling on his affair with Helen Gahagan Douglas Also, interestingly, Jack Kennedy has almost no role whatsoever This leads to my final thought there is no way on God s green Earth that Caro manages to fit LBJ s vice presidency, presidency, and post presidential life into one volume I know The Years of Lyndon Johnson was initially conceived as a trilogy and has been adjusted to a quadrilogy now, I think Caro should admit that he s going to need twobooks There s just two many characters MLK, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Westland, McNamara and too many events LBJ s sad vice presidency, the assassination, the Great Society, Vietnam, Humphrey s loss in 68 for just onebook, unless that book is 2000 pages long


  2. Jean Jean says:

    This is a long book Caro provides extended passages of background about a quarter of the book on the history of the Senate, from the great days of Webster, Clay and Calhoun to current times He also went into detail about the architecture and seats in the Senate both before and after the War of 1812 Approximately half of the book covers in detail the epic battle over the 1957 Civil Rights Bill Johnson s magic is the main subject of the book how he made things happen in the U.S Senate Johns This is a long book Caro provides extended passages of background about a quarter of the book on the history of the Senate, from the great days of Webster, Clay and Calhoun to current times He also went into detail about the architecture and seats in the Senate both before and after the War of 1812 Approximately half of the book covers in detail the epic battle over the 1957 Civil Rights Bill Johnson s magic is the main subject of the book how he made things happen in the U.S Senate Johnson s wheeling, threatening, stroking large egos, explaining why his goal was essential for the Country s good, he ran an institution that had never before been run by anyone Master of the Senate is the third volume of Caro s biography of Lyndon Johnson I seem to be reading this series backwards as I started with Volume four Caro presents a Johnson that is well rounded We get to see him with all his warts and all, but also are given admiring recognition of all his accomplishments Race was the great test for Johnson and the country during his years as Senate Majority leader 1955 61 Caro reveals the obstructed federal action on the cruel mistreatment of blacks in the South no civil rights legislation had been enacted since 1875, at the end of the Reconstruction For years after Johnson entered the Senate in 1949, he mostly voted with the Southerners He chose as his mentor senator Richard Russell of Georgia, one of the most powerful men in the Senate Johnson s friend Philip Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, kept telling Johnson he had to do something for civil rights In 1957 President Eisenhower proposed Civil Rights Legislation It appeared impossible to pass the legislation, but Johnson made it happen Caro s description of how he did it is masterly His strategy was to persuade the Southerners that is was in their best interest to let something labeled civil rights go through The Eisenhower bill was focused on the right to vote, which the South denied the blacks by force and trickery Johnson weakened the bill but if he didn t it would not pass Johnson thought of it as a beginning as opening to furthermeaningful legislation.Caro shows how Johnson learned the rules of the Senate and then used them He then learned about the men in the Senate, their vanities, frailties and their weakness He then sold himself to each as their friend, political adviser, their sounding board their Mr Fix it He also found a way to bridge the chasm between the Southern Democrats and the Northern liberals The author goes into detail about the Olds Hearing I will never again watch a Senate hearing without remembering what Johnson did to this man Olds was up for re confirmation of the Utilities commission and Johnson destroyed the man accusing him of being a communist just so he could obtain the favor and backing of the Texas gas and oil companies Johnson organized a sneak attack and controlled the whole hearing so the man could not have the opportunity to refute the charges.Caro concludes that with the single exception of Lincoln, Johnson was the greatest white champion of blacks in American History Grover Gardner does an excellent job narrating the book


  3. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    Power concedes nothing without a demand It never did and never willRobert A Caro, Master of the Senate The first thing one must discuss when talking about this book is its size Its umpf Its heft It doesn t come to you, you go to it Weighing in at almost 2lbs, this book is 3x the size of premature babies that survive now It is a beast 1167 pages including notes and index But man, there was a gem on every page And not just a historical detail, but Caro s prose makes this book easierPower concedes nothing without a demand It never did and never willRobert A Caro, Master of the Senate The first thing one must discuss when talking about this book is its size Its umpf Its heft It doesn t come to you, you go to it Weighing in at almost 2lbs, this book is 3x the size of premature babies that survive now It is a beast 1167 pages including notes and index But man, there was a gem on every page And not just a historical detail, but Caro s prose makes this book easier consume than a ice tea on a hot August day Every book I finish in this series, makes me evencertain that this may be one of the greatest biographies of the last 100 years.Master of the Senate, is the third book in Caro s eventually there should be five volumes four have been published so far about 1 per decade Years of Lyndon Johnson , and focuses primarily on Johnson s tenure in the Senate The book examines, in detail, LBJ s RISE to power in the Senate, his revolutionary GENIUS in extracting new powers, and his USE of those powers both to aid his quest for the White House and in passing the 1957 Civil Rights law One can think of this book as almost three distinct works There is so much to think about with just THIS volume, it helps to break it into smaller bites PARTS III Pgs 1 350 The first 1 3 examines the history of the Senate and the rise of the seniority system and the South s dominance in the Senate leadership It examines LBJ s entrance into the Senate and his struggles to fit in and find his place It then examines Richard Russell the guy they named the Russell Senate building after and his family s history and his history and rise to power in the US Senate Why Because Senator Russell was to become the key to LBJ s success in the Senate The first 1 3 of the book examines how LBJ used many of the same techniques to develop a relationship with Russell that in his House years he used with Sam Rayburn LBJ had a way with older men with power Rayburn, Russell, LBJ The first 1 3 ends with LBJ destroying the career and reputation of Leland Olds when he was re appointed to head the FPC Federal Power Commission in 1949 In doing so, LBJ was able to gain somecred with Texas oil industry and with his Southern fellow senators The last bit of the first section also details Johnson s use of his Preparedness Investigating subcommittee similar to the one used by Truman during WWII in order to raise his name recognition during the beginning of the Korean War Caro contrasts the way that LBJ ran the committee with the way that Truman ran his.PARTS IIIIV Pgs 351 682 The second 1 3 examines the role of the Senate Majority leader and how past senators who controlled the gavel failed to control the US Senate Part of the issue was most of the power in the Senate was controlled by committee chairmen and those seats were based on seniority Caro describes how the Senate fit LBJ and how he quickly adapted to the Senate s formalities and unique customs And he watched He gathered information on senators, their needs, wants and weaknesses He also maintained access to Texas oil, which meant he had access to money Before LBJ, the Senate Majority leader job was considered a nothing job It didn t give you power, and it created huge risks But that was before LBJ LBJ discovered that knowledge and coordination is power This section also develops a chapter about Senator Humphrey Humphrey s relationship with Johnson is important because he is an interesting contrast to Johnson AND because their friendship and relationship is important to both later So LBJ, through his relationship with Russell gets named as the youngest Majority Leader Using his unique skills, his work ethic, his ability to understand people s needs and weaknesses Johnson starts to consolidate power He begins to use power Johnson also understand that with a weak Republican party, and a pragmatic president, the Democrats can gain power by helping President Eisenhower to accomplish many of his goals This period also involved dealing with Senator McCarthy Not directly, Johnson NEVER moves early But he patiently waited, perhaps too long, to do anything As Johnson gainspower, his quietness fades and the old lapel grabbing, power using Johnson returns You don t cross Senator Johnson now If you do, you won t get the committee assignment you want, or your bill won t be heard, or you will be shunned With his exercise of power Johnson starts to make the Senate work The senate, a place where bills went to die, now begins to operate With Johnson at the controls, things begin to get done Johnson s name starts to rise PARTS V VI Pgs 683 1040 will finish Friday


  4. Otis Chandler Otis Chandler says:

    Best book of the series, and best book about American history that I think I ve read Now we are getting to the drama and corruption at an interesting scale the US Senate And the portrait we have of Johnson is fascinating Lyndon Johnson was just simply power hungry He had no principles of note, no things he was on a mission to do except to hold as much power as he could But he was brilliant at reading people, knowing what they wanted, and finding ways to horse trade in his huge and growi Best book of the series, and best book about American history that I think I ve read Now we are getting to the drama and corruption at an interesting scale the US Senate And the portrait we have of Johnson is fascinating Lyndon Johnson was just simply power hungry He had no principles of note, no things he was on a mission to do except to hold as much power as he could But he was brilliant at reading people, knowing what they wanted, and finding ways to horse trade in his huge and growing network and help them get it A genius at being a politician But lacking principles I hope there are politicians that can do both.But this is not just a book about LBJ and his time in the senate it is a history of the senate, and of 1960 s America I didn t appreciate the power the Senate has in US politics small numbers of senators can block legislation for a long time The book hints that WWII can be blamed on the senate because the president wanted to act against Hitler much earlier but the senate didn t let him a crazy allegation if true And the filibusters I didn t appreciate what those really were and how powerful they were It was also very impressive reading how quickly LBJ took over leadership of the Senate most senators had to wait until they were old to have the seniority to do much LBJ within two years of being a senator had become elected leader and then did away with the seniority rule both unprecedented changes And of course, much of the book is about the fact that the southern senators collaborated to prevent any civil rights legislation for 100 years It was well into the 20th century before African Americans got the right to vote, and we removed segregation and this delay is all due to the senate LBJ is known for being the president who passed civil rights but the story of how he was a southern senator from Texas who had the southern senators as his base, but had to pass civil rights bills through the senate in order to make the liberals believe he was on their side so he could have a presidential bid was fascinating He did it not caring a single bit about the actual cause it was simply the only path to be president, as the country had hit a point where the northerners were no longer going to let segregation go on, and the southerners were only going to give it up over their dead bodies LBJ worked both sides, found compromises, made each side believe he was really on their side, and got the first ever civil rights bill of the 1900 s passed to give African Americans the right to vote


  5. HBalikov HBalikov says:

    Caro makes history as compelling as fiction LBJ is a great subject and he takes his time through 5 volumes This is volume 3 and there is a lot to be learned about using the Senate rules and cloakroom as effectively as Johnson was able to do.Pros Great details LBJ s faults and virtues are all on display a critical period in U.S history is well documentedCons Lady Bird, John Connelly and Bill Moyers all refused to talk to Caro as he wrote this volume They are the keepers of much truth and Caro makes history as compelling as fiction LBJ is a great subject and he takes his time through 5 volumes This is volume 3 and there is a lot to be learned about using the Senate rules and cloakroom as effectively as Johnson was able to do.Pros Great details LBJ s faults and virtues are all on display a critical period in U.S history is well documentedCons Lady Bird, John Connelly and Bill Moyers all refused to talk to Caro as he wrote this volume They are the keepers of much truth and their absence is significant Were they reluctant to talk or just reluctant to trust Caro


  6. aPriL does feral sometimes aPriL does feral sometimes says:

    The Years of Lyndon Johnson Master of the Senate by Robert A Caro is a monumental achievement The book deserves every award it has received It is an American history book, a biography and a college level civics text all in one I found it overwhelming in insider detail and shockingly revealing of the spectrum of human culpability in self interest as well as the amazing heights human cleverness can reach if housed in an intelligent brain Caro strips away layers of political cover and me The Years of Lyndon Johnson Master of the Senate by Robert A Caro is a monumental achievement The book deserves every award it has received It is an American history book, a biography and a college level civics text all in one I found it overwhelming in insider detail and shockingly revealing of the spectrum of human culpability in self interest as well as the amazing heights human cleverness can reach if housed in an intelligent brain Caro strips away layers of political cover and media spin to show how the sausage meats of legislation is made and stalled in America and who the political butcher specialists of the Senate were from the 1940 s until the early 1960 s.Gentle reader, my biggest takeaway from this book is hungry sharks definitely are not the toughest predators on earth Most people think serial killers are the most dangerous type of people No Not Do not ever get in the way of professional politicians without being cocked and loaded at all times Master of the Senate begins with a short history of the Senate It s fascinating It s depressing It s amazing These chapters should be required reading in all Civics classes The customs and rules of the United States Senate are indistinguishable from the most oldest and primitive rituals of ancient religious rites of the past Kidding No, actually, I m not Exaggerating, ok Maybe The protocols are straight out of the Middle Ages The Dark Middle Ages The Senate s rituals are only treated as if they are holy writ from Mount Horeb written millennia ago.Lyndon Johnson passed the many arcane tests elder statesmen in Texas and in the United States Congress use to weed out the weak in the dog packs formed of up and coming politicians Cutthroat underhanded tactics reduce competition or serve to whip unruly independents into followers of the party platform Johnson found the steep learning curve of doing politics a genuine trial by fire and kissing ass as do all freshmen politicians But he also possessed an inner messianic fire of his own to become President of the United States even before he ever won an election Coming from poverty humiliated him The shame of powerlessness and disrespect for his family and place in Texas never left him Many people are cowed and weighed down by powerlessness Johnson became focused on becoming the most powerful man in the United States The story of how Johnson got to own one of the top political jobs Majority Leader of the Senate and rewriting the job description along the way from a moribund figurehead to a powerful one of dictatorship is an incredible story of incredible will and a willingness to throw anyone and everyone under the bus when needed Steel magnolias is not a description only for southern women, but of southern male politicians, particularly those with presidential hopes, particularly Lyndon Johnson although Johnson only cared to appear civilized for the media and frenemies holding powerful jobs above him.Meanwhile Ugly social issues were disturbing the usually quiescent voters of the United States after World War II and in the 1950 s, like overt systemic legal racism and naked raw capitalist rapine and unadulterated greed of powerful business interests oil, gas, railroads The preference of politicians was to keep voters quiet, ignorant, uneducated and distracted while maintaining the status quo of corrupt fundraising and White Male supremacy and personal social climbing For example, Senate Southerners controlled the Senate through seniority rules They demanded Jim Crow laws be untouched and maintained in their states In the Senate, a minority of Senators can stop any proposed legislation dead They could and did utterly destroy by making powerless any politicians who tried to change the ongoing de facto slavery of Black Americans The Southerners, who voted as a united block, whose leaders were committee chairmen in most of the committees because of seniority rules, came from eleven states out of the fifty which consist of the United States Later, even into the 1960 s, only eight Southern states were still militantly resisting any changes to their laws of segregation but they were able to either stop or gut all civil rights legislation in the Senate through procedural rules and outright threats of financial and career destruction Many Senators from the Midwest and Southern States get most of their financial support from conservative wealthy oligarchs who own media and job creating businesses So It is true how much wealthy oligarchs and organizations utterly own Senators, then, in Lyndon Johnson s lifetime, and now, whatever an elected legislator s personal goals and beliefs.But sometimes a legislator, with political smarts and charisma, with an incredible force of personality, and finally, power, in time, overwhelms the special interests and the reactionary mouthbreather tribes in Congress with breathtaking strategic plots which overturn all norms For awhile In Lyndon Johnson s case twelve years Lyndon Johnson was a f kcing political genius because he ALWAYS put ambition for power first over principles and beliefs How he finally got the job of Majority Leader and kept it is eye opening, and awesomely disgusting as well as impressive He was a very conservative Democrat He suppressed what few liberal values he had in order to gain the support of the Southern powerbrokers controlling the Senate and begged on his knees those wealthy men with fat purses to give him money and resources, no matter what I think he d have drowned babies in order to gain favors without a qualm in order to get power But he did feel civil rights legislation should be passed as long as he did not lose control over the Senate, once he became Majority leader He had to keep his liberal friends while convincing his liberal enemies to work with the Southerners Frankly, Johnson was a fantastic Majority Leader However, to be that guy that he was, made of him a horrible human being on several levels Grudgingly, I can see why he was a hard narcissistic man in Congress and at home, for the matter It was a hard job to force Senators with different passions, goals and beliefs from fifty states to compromise and sometimes to do things which meant not getting re elected Make no mistake many of those powerful Southern Senators HATED Black people with every fiber of their being, and they won their elections from a majority of people who felt the same It wasn t only about money, power and exploitation Segregation made living with Black people personally bearable for them Desegregation was mentally impossible, simply unthinkable for them Many White Southerners cheered the murders of Black children no exaggeration The confounding part was these same hater men were decent, even nice, churchgoing, likeable, lovable, in other, even most, other areas of their lives.Other case histories of important legislation, such as getting electricity to poor neighborhoods, is also discussed It is fascinating stuff Part of why Congress dragged its feet on helping electricity producing installations being built was rich men wanted to privatize electrical production and gouge the customers for what was assumed would be fantastic profits from those few who would pay and many members of Congress wanted this as well The poor would simply live without electricity Others, liberals of course, wanted to make electrical production into public government owned businesses in order to make electricity affordable for the masses You know, the usual seesaw of power seeking soul destroying selfishness and benighted altruism Trust me on this, economics, statistics other than popularity polls and the economy are the last thing these members have on their todos I thought Lyndon Johnson was mostly a good guy before I read this biography, which was my impression of him when I was a teenager, excepting his incomprehensible continuation of the Vietnam War I don t know any about what I think of him after finishing it He was without question a Koch Industries supporter, and he was totally 100% behind grabbing oil resources and promoting oil production for his wealthy oilmen friends no matter how extravagantly rich the businesses deals were for his friends or how much his oil buddies gouged the public or despoiled the environment Also, he held back a lot of progressive and liberal legislation, supposedly because he felt the bills were too disruptive, or damaging to his relationships with conservative Southerners or that passage of a bill into law would stop his hopes for a successful presidential campaign in a few years However, I wonder now if ANY nice or fair minded person, or anyone wanting justice and democratic values at the top of their values list, the number one and two criteria ruling their heart, could do what politicians appear to do Pragmatism is absolutely the necessary top skill required in politicians skill sets if they hope to succeed It appears legislation can t be passed without massive compromises, like trading oil drilling concessions in return for increasing taxes on the rich, if the taxes are collected only on days without an s Cosplay is everyday posturing for these guys today Superman, tomorrow Magneto, next week the Hulk.Robert Caro, using intricately researched documentation and in depth interviews, has been writing a, so far, planned five book series about the life of Lyndon Johnson This is the only one I have read of the four completed and published volumes It is incredibly informative about American politics and how Congress REALLY functions Hints Knowledge of Procedures, Rituals and Power connections isimportant than policy or ideals Hierarchical respect isimportant than personal morals Disobedience or trying to overturn the Senate system means shunning and all loss of power or committee memberships, no access to friends, offices or resources There are Debts, Sources, Notes and Index sections, along with photos of Lyndon Johnson, his Senate offices and some of his staff


  7. Howard Howard says:

    Reread.Whew What a relief Only twovolumes to go.


  8. Brendan Brendan says:

    Robert Caro has got to be the best American biographer of the past 50 years It s sad that he s only turned out 4 books in the last 35 years, but each one is so exceptionally researched and well written Master of the Senate is another chapter in Caro s multi volume study of Lyndon Johnson, focusing on his time in the Senate, specifically his efforts to pass the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction His study of the political dynamics of the Senate in the 1950s, including the entrenched Robert Caro has got to be the best American biographer of the past 50 years It s sad that he s only turned out 4 books in the last 35 years, but each one is so exceptionally researched and well written Master of the Senate is another chapter in Caro s multi volume study of Lyndon Johnson, focusing on his time in the Senate, specifically his efforts to pass the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction His study of the political dynamics of the Senate in the 1950s, including the entrenched fecklessness of the Republicans and the deep divisions between the conservative southern western democrats and the northeastrern liberal democrats is amazingly informative and insightful So much of the modern political landscape we are so familiar with today stems from the moments recounted in this book, including the black vote being 90% democrat and the 30 year republican lock on the white southern states.A great book if you re interested in American politics and the dynamics of power in the federal government Also, the book is stand alone You don t have to read the previous two volumes of the Lyndon Johnson series to appreciate it


  9. Max Max says:

    Like the second, the third volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson progresses from a slow start to a riveting finish In the first 100 pages Caro recounts the exercise of power in the Senate from its inception to the time Lyndon Johnson entered in 1948 At that time, the firmly entrenched seniority system vested unmitigated power in the committee chairmen who were old, conservative and southern This instructive history lesson gives us the context we need to assess Johnson s significant accomplish Like the second, the third volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson progresses from a slow start to a riveting finish In the first 100 pages Caro recounts the exercise of power in the Senate from its inception to the time Lyndon Johnson entered in 1948 At that time, the firmly entrenched seniority system vested unmitigated power in the committee chairmen who were old, conservative and southern This instructive history lesson gives us the context we need to assess Johnson s significant accomplishments to follow Johnson as a freshman senator quickly sizes up the situation, lays out his plan and executes it with precision in spite of seemingly overwhelming obstacles He uses his magic with older men, sucking up to the existing Senate leaders, Richard Russell most prominently, winning their trust and support He brings national attention to himself taking control of a minor subcommittee and blowing out of all proportion its minor findings He ascends to power as he has in the past, by taking a thankless job, in this case assistant leader or whip, and transforming it into one of importance Along the way he pleases his Texas financial backers by lambasting a hapless Leander Olds as a communist As chairman of the Federal Power Commission, Olds tightly regulated oil and gas prices Johnson took him out ensuring continued generous financial support from Texas oilmen As a telling example of LBJ s ethics, after completely destroying Olds in front of the nation, he walked up to him after the hearing to shake his hand saying he didn t mean anything personal, it was just politics and he hoped they were still friends Even though Johnson didn t really believe or probably even care whether Olds was a communist, neither did he believe that he had done anything wrong in ruining him.Much of volume three documents the slipping and sliding Johnson does between liberals and conservatives first as whip and then as majority leader He always bends just enough to keep each side in his debt yet never goes so far as to alienate the other He is the Senate dance master And he gets things done, settling issues without extended fights Bills get passed as conflicts are resolved in a way we could never envision in today s Congress In the Johnson style, each step of the way he accumulates power as he rewards those who help and ostracizes those who don t You are either a member of his team or forget ever getting anything for yourself or your constituents Who else could have the support at the same time of both Hubert Humphrey and Richard Russell Civil Rights was an issue Johnson had decided not to take on, letting the Southern Democrats empowered by the filibuster prevent any serious effort at a bill Two things changed that First was the nationwide clamor for action that developed in the wake of the Emmett Till murder case and the Montgomery busing segregation chaos with widespread violence and bombings Buttressed by TV images and widespread popular magazine coverage, Civil Rights would no longer be dispatched to the background Second was Johnson s presidential bid debacle at the 1956 Democratic convention His delusions of grandeur shattered, he realized his perception by the nation as a sectional leader of the now even further diminished South stood in the way of his presidential ambitions.The Civil Rights bill of 1957, a weak attempt at protecting minority voting rights, was LBJ s answer to his dilemma In describing how this bill was engineered and became law Caro is at his best Despite the bill s shortcomings it took unbelievable dedication and skill to get it passed Caro encapsulates clearly why Johnson was truly the Master of the Senate Regardless of what one thinks of the final bill or Johnson s character, one has to recognize a remarkable individual who better than anybody understood how to gain and use power Having read the first two volumes serves the reader well here They show how everything in Johnson s life culminated in the person that could accomplish the extraordinary It is almost impossible to imagine anyone else getting this legislation passed.I am left with a fundamental question Today s Congress is hopelessly deadlocked This is normal As Caro s history lesson of the Senate illustrates so well, only under unusual circumstances civil war, depression did the Senate get anything done, except of course what financial interests paid for Could Lyndon Johnson control the Senate today Would we want him too Is self aggrandizement, deceit, intimidation and the rawest of power politics necessary for progress Is it worth it


  10. David David says:

    Just as Caro began the first volume of Lyndon Johnson s biography telling the entire history of the Texas hill country where he grew up, he sets the stage for Johnson s Senate years by giving a brief, thorough history of the U.S Senate, starting all the way in the 18th century.Caro writes long He does not stint on details He almost reminds me of a non fiction version of Stephen King If you ve ever read a big, bloated Stephen King novel where King suddenly goes off on a chapter long tangent Just as Caro began the first volume of Lyndon Johnson s biography telling the entire history of the Texas hill country where he grew up, he sets the stage for Johnson s Senate years by giving a brief, thorough history of the U.S Senate, starting all the way in the 18th century.Caro writes long He does not stint on details He almost reminds me of a non fiction version of Stephen King If you ve ever read a big, bloated Stephen King novel where King suddenly goes off on a chapter long tangent to give us the life history of some minor character who s about to die in the next scene, you know what I mean Except Caro s tangents are not bloat They re meaningful Because the heart of this book, volume three of his so far four volume epicography of LBJ, is all about the Senate battle over the 1957 Civil Rights Act A bill that most people hardly remember today because it was relatively inconsequential compared to the ones that followed And yet, it was also enormously consequential, because it made the ones that followed possible But to understand that, you have to understand why it was so significant, and to understand that, you have to understand esoteric details both about the functioning of the Senate, and the political situation that existed in the U.S at the time You have to understand Senate parliamentary procedures, and how Johnson completely transformed the Senate, and all the maneuvering he had to do to get there You have to understand the multi factional divisions between liberal Republicans there was such a thing, back then , pro civil rights Democrats, and the block of Southern Democrats that effectively ruled the Senate, despite their numerical minority, because of their mastery of Senate proceedings And you have to understand LBJ that complicated, magnificent bastard, who never let principles get in the way of ambition, who could be as amoral a politician as any who ever set foot in Washington, who was a bullying, blustering, crooked, double dealing scoundrel, as cruel as he was ruthless, and yet who deep down, actually possessed a genuine streak of compassion for the poor and the disenfranchised, and whose long buried convictions every so often, when it was politically convenient, would manifest in feats of political genius that allowed him to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.The previous volume, Means of Ascent, told the story of Johnson s 1948 campaign for the U.S Senate That book, like this one, focused on a relatively obscure today political battle and turned it into an epic contest with all its implications detailed Johnson won that extraordinarily dirty battle with Coke Stevenson it would probably not be an exaggeration to say he literally stole the election , and came to the Senate as a freshman Senator from Texas Where he ran headfirst into the Senate s seniority system, and all the ways in which the Senate was dysfunctional By the end of his time there, Johnson will have changed everything and as is characteristic of him, he will have done so using ruthless, unscrupulous means, elevating his own interests at the expense of the American people and his own constituents, and yet, by doing so he will also have made it possible to actually get things done that could never have been done before like passing a civil rights act.The U.S SenateAs every American schoolchild knows, the United States Congress is divided into two halves the House of Representatives and the Senate Congressmen are apportioned according to population, and re elected every two years, while every state gets two Senators, elected for six years While most people know the primary reason for this compromise larger states wanted proportional representation, smaller states feared being made irrelevant and powerless , there was another reason the Founding Fathers felt a need for a smaller andstable legislative body The Senate was to be a firewall against popular sentiment the Founders feared demagogues and populism Congressmen might push for whatever was inflaming their constituents at the moment the Senate was supposed to be a place for lengthy deliberation, where passions could be damped.And it served this purpose, for better and for worse Caro traces the history of the Senate from its early days, through the glory years of the Immortal Trio John C Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay, and then through the Civil War.Having given all this history, Caro is able to explain in detail how Southern Democrats came to dominate the Senate post Reconstruction Today, few people pay much attention to the esoteric rules of Senate procedure I m not sure if Senators do But in the early 20th century, these parliamentary procedures were crucial to controlling the flow of Senate legislation Caro s detailed explanations are farinteresting than you might think, when he actually puts nitpicky terms like pairing and cloture into context The rules of Senate proceedings are farcomplex and crafty than anyone who hasn t learned them can possibly imagine And the Southern Democrats, representing the eleven states of the Confederate South, were masters of Senate parliamentary procedure Over and over again, they balked their Northern rivals, who rarely studied parliamentary procedure in such depth and often had no idea how badly they were being outmaneuvered Sometimes they were shocked and dismayed to find out that they d accidentally nerfed their own bills other times they d learn they d given up a vote on a bill by misunderstanding the technical difference between the Senate President opening or resuming a session Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Southerners were able to ensure that the one thing they absolutely didn t want could never happen civil rights.The Senate had also evolved a seniority system which, by Lyndon Johnson s time, had become as rigid and seemingly immutable as the Vatican Senators were put on committees strictly according to their seniority, not interest or ability or even political leverage, so the only way to become head of a powerful and influential committee was to have been there the longest, and be the party in power Freshmen Senators were literally expected to barely speak at all during their first term a newly elected firebrand who showed up and immediately started giving speeches and introducing bills on the Senate floor would soon find himself shunned and sidelined, politically and socially, by his colleagues.The result of this, by the middle of the 20th century, was a moribund, static body in which very little was actually accomplished, and there were politicians and pundits seriously proposing that the Senate be abolished as a relic of an earlier age.Then LBJ came along.Slowly, gradually, bit by bit, he did what he had always done, even back in his college days He figured out ways to change the rules He recognized where real power lay, and positioned himself to grab hold of it He used the rules, abused them, broke them and twisted them, brokered deals and broke promises, made allies, betrayed them, and over a period of years, remade the Senate in his image.Leland OldsOne of the early victims of Johnson s scheming was Leland Olds, and Caro takes yet another obscure figure out of American history and gives us his entire biography just to fit him into the LBJ story.Leland Olds had been appointed by FDR to the Federal Power Commission in 1939 He was a highly principled and religious man who actually believed he had a duty to the American public He used the FPC to enforce the Natural Gas Act of 1938, which did not go over well with Texas oilmen, who were now investing heavily in natural gas Johnson was beholden to the Texas oil industry, so when Olds s reconfirmation hearing occurred in 1949, it was supposed to be routine, almost a formality.It wasn t Johnson put all his craft on display Playing both sides of the fence, presenting himself to Olds as his friend and ally, presenting himself to the media as an impartial, fair minded subcommittee chairman, he set Olds up, arranging to have old writings from his younger,radical days dug up, writings which had already been discussed in previous confirmation hearings But this time Olds was presented as a communist, a dangerous, business hating, anti American radical Johnson cleverly managed to derail or blunt every opportunity Olds and his allies would have had to defend himself Olds lost his position and was barely able to stay employed Leland Olds would not be the first or last person Johnson smilingly stabbed in the back, but it would long be remembered by Senate liberals, who grew to despise him.Eye on the PresidencyBy the time Johnson became Senate Majority Leader, he owned the Senate He literally took over offices and gave himself a palatial executive suite to rival the President s He controlled which bills would or wouldn t get introduced, and literally told other Senators how to vote He was feared, hated, and admired, and by 1957, the Senate was his bitch.But that wasn t enough for him, because he had always had his eye on the Presidency.Johnson had long been a professional favorite son He would attach himself to a powerful older man and become his loyal toady A manipulative master of brown nosing, Johnson came to the Senate and went along to get along, quietly doing very little while becoming the favored protege of Senator Richard Russell.Dick Russell, former Governor of Georgia, was the most powerful man in the Senate He was key to Johnson s ambitions, and Caro spends an entire chapter giving us a biography of Russell Russell was a gentleman of the Old South, a statesmanlike figure revered by his fellow Southerners and respected by everyone else.Russel was also adamantly opposed to Civil Rights He was a genteel Southerner, not a race baiting hatemonger like some of his contemporaries He spoke eloquently about the harmonious relationship of races in the South, denying any animosity, claiming that Northern depictions of Southerners as lynching, cross burning savages was just Reconstruction era slander Even while lynching and cross burning was very much happening Russell didn t use the n word Russell spoke of states rights and heritage.Dick Russell wasn t about to let Negroes vote, or attend schools with white children, or swim in white swimming pools.Lyndon Johnson was Russell s devoted favorite son, and he spoke as a Southerner His entire political career had been a masterful job of convincing liberals he was a liberal, and conservatives he was a conservative To his fellow Southerners, Johnson spoke of We of the South He convinced the Southerners he was one of them He was against civil rights And his voting record certainly reflected that.There was just one problem Johnson wanted to be President And the rest of the country was becoming increasingly fed up with the South No Southerner, especially a Southerner with an anti civil rights record, had a hope of being elected to the White House.Russell saw in Johnson someone who could be elected President, and Russell very much wanted to see a Southerner elected President.Thus began some of the most masterful, underhanded, ignoble, and glorious political maneuverings in Johnson s entire career I can t even fit my review in Goodreads word count Cont in comments


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Master of the Senate❴EPUB❵ ✻ Master of the Senate Author Robert A. Caro – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk The most riveting political biography of our time, Robert A Caro s life of Lyndon B Johnson, continues Master of the Senate takes Johnson s story through one of its most remarkable periods his twelve The most riveting political biography of our time, Robert A Caro Master of MOBI :Ú s life of Lyndon B Johnson, continues Master of the Senate takes Johnson s story through one of its most remarkable periods his twelve years, fromthrough , in the United States Senate Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation Caro shows how Johnson s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction Brilliantly weaving rich detail into a gripping narrative, Caro gives us both a galvanizing portrait of Johnson himself and a definitive and revelatory study of the workings of legislative power.


About the Author: Robert A. Caro

A former investigative reporter for Newsday, Robert Caro is the author Master of MOBI :Ú of The Power Broker , a biography of the urban planner Robert Moses which he won the Pulitzer Prize President Obama said that he read the biography when he was years old and that the book mesmerized him Obama said, I m sure it helped to shape how I think about politics Caro has also written four biographies on Lyndon Johnson, including The Path to Power , Means of Ascent , and Master of the Senate , and The Passage of Power , which won the National Book Critics Circle Award He is currently at work on a fifth and final volume about Lyndon Johnson.