The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 3: Master of the Senate

The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 3: Master of the Senate

Robert A. Caro

Language: English

Pages: 1179

ISBN: 2:00305883

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub blurb:

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 years, from 1949 through 1960, 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.

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Washington, he was growing older, and traits sometimes deepen, harden, as a man grows older, no matter how much he may wish them not to. “He became,” as his biographer says, “somewhat more aloof.” “I had always been taught that if decent people asked you to come to their house you had to go,” he was to recall, and for a few years after arriving in Washington in 1933, he accepted at least some of the invitations to parties and dinners that poured in on a bachelor senator. And, his hostesses said,

pleasantness of those days in the Gulf. For Dick Russell, who had just spent ten months in Washington with very little warmth in his life, it was a week basking in warmth, and in admiration—and the thank-you note he sent to Johnson from Winder showed how pleasant the week had been. “Dear Lyndon,” he wrote. “Ever since I reached home I have been wondering if I would wake up and find that I had just been dreaming that I had made a trip to Texas. Everything was so perfect that it is difficult to

began, and the Tennessean, with his forces already organized, would have a long head start. Moreover, Johnson and Rayburn said, the decision would contribute to the impression, already far too prevalent, that Stevenson was indecisive. His face again red with rage, Rayburn stood there refusing to agree to what Stevenson was suggesting until Johnson took him by his arm and said, “Mr. Sam, it’s his decision, he has to live with it, not us,” and pulled him away. “All right,” Rayburn said, “if your

indiscriminately, probing them for some sign of amenability to compromise.” He had begun while the Part III fight had still been going on. Trying to find a middle ground—some form of jury trial amendment acceptable to both liberals and the South—he had “spent hours on the phone in nonstop conversations with the most ingenious legal minds he knew,” pleading with Corcoran, Rowe, Clifford, Fortas, Acheson, and a dozen other lawyers “for something to break the logjam.” He had had Tommy Corcoran

become. BUT IT WAS a cruel joke. The enormous power held by each of the southern committee chairmen individually was multiplied by their unity, by what White called a “oneness found nowhere else in politics.” The symbol was the legendary “Southern Caucus,” the meetings of the twenty-two southern senators which were held in the office of their leader, Richard Brevard Russell of Georgia, whenever crisis threatened—meetings that were, White said, “for all the world like reunions of a large and

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