Reviews

“A wonderful, a glorious tale. . . . It will be hard to equal this amazing book. It reads like a Trollope novel, but not even Trollope explored the ambitions and the gullibilities of men as deliciously as Robert Caro does. Even though I knew what the outcome of a particular episode would be, I followed Caro’s account of it with excitement. I went back over chapters to make sure I had not missed a word . . . Caro’s description of how [Johnson passed the civil rights legislation] is masterly; I was there and followed the course of the legislation closely, but I did not know the half of it.” —Anthony Lewis, The New York Times Book Review

“Mesmerizing. . . . [It] brings LBJ blazing into the Senate. . . . A tale rife with drama and hypnotic in the telling.” —Newsweek

“Caro’s immersion in the man and period yields a fascinating, entertaining abundance… Master of the Senate splendidly reassembles the U.S. Senate of those years.” —Time

“Brilliant . . . Caro achieves a special tension, too rare in history books but essential in epic poetry: the drama of a hero who is wrestling with his enemies, his limitations and his fate to achieve something truly lasting . . . In his hands, the obscure fight over legislation becomes nothing less than a battle for the soul of America . . .It’s a terribly important work, unblinkingly delineating the inner workings of our democracy.”—Chicago Tribune

“A masterpiece . . . Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.” —The Times (London)

“An epic tale of winning and wielding power.” —Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Caro must be America’s greatest living Presidential biographer . . . He entrances us with both his words and his research . . . No other contemporary biographer offers such a complex picture of the forces driving an American politician, or populates his work with such vividly drawn secondary characters.” —Richard S. Dunham, BusinessWeek

“Brilliant . . .A riveting political drama.” —Douglas Brinkley, Boston Globe

“The most complete portrait of the Senate ever drawn.” —Michael Wolff, New York

“A terrific study of power politics.” —Steve Neal, Chicago Sun-Times

“In this fascinating book, Robert Caro does more than carry forward his epic life of Lyndon Johnson. With compelling narrative power and with remarkable subtlety and sensitivity, he illuminates the Senate of the United States and its byzantine power struggles. In this historical tour-de-force, Robert Caro shows himself the true ‘master of the Senate.’ ” —Arthur Schlesinger, Jr

Master of the Senate and its two preceding volumes are the highest expression of biography as art. After The Path to Power and Means of Ascent, there shouldn’t be much debate about Caro’s grand achievement, but let’s be clear about this nonetheless: In terms of political biography, not only does it not get better than this, it can’t.” —Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman

“These [legislative battles] are great stories, the stuff of the legends of democracy–rich in character, plot, suspense, nuttiness, human frailty, maddening stupidity. These should be the American sagas; these should be our epics. Bob Caro has given us a beauty, and I think we owe him great thanks.” —Molly Ivins, New York Observer

“Indefatigably researched and brilliantly written . . . Powerful . . . One of Caro’s most valuable contributions is his excavation of the lost art of legislating . . . Rich and rewarding.’ —Ronald Brownstein, Times Literary Supplement

“Epic . . . It is impossible to imagine that a political science class on the U.S. Congress can be taught today that does not reference this book. It is a florid and graphic account of how Congress works, an authoritative work on the history of the Senate and a virtual cookbook of recipes for legislative success for the nascent politician.” —Robert F. Julian, New York Law Journal

“A panoramic study of how power plays out in the legislative arena. Combining the best techniques of investigative reporting with majestic storytelling ability, Caro has created a vivid, revelatory institutional history as well as a rich hologram of Johnson’s character . . . He seems to have perfectly captured and understood Johnson’s capacity for greatness.” —Jill Abramson, New York Times

Master of the Senate forces us not only to rewrite our national political history but to rethink it as well . . . Caro’s been burrowing beneath the shadows of the substance of our politics for more than twenty-eight years, and what he finds is both fascinating and surprising . . . Compulsively readable.” —Eric Alterman, The Nation

“A spectacular piece of historical biography, delicious reading for both political junkies and serious students of the political process . . . . Fascinating.” —Robert D. Novak, The Weekly Standard

“Vintage Caro–a portrait so deft, vivid, and compelling that you practically feel LBJ gripping your arm and bending you to his will.” —Jean Strouse

“Caro is a master of biography . . . With his Tolstoyian touch for storytelling and drama, Caro gives us a fascinating ride through the corridors of Senate sovereignty . . . Of all the many Johnson biographies, none approaches Caro’s work in painstaking thoroughness, meticulous detail and the capture of character . . . A dazzling tour de force that certifies Caro as the country’s preeminent specialist in examining political power and its uses.” —Paul Duke, Baltimore Sun

“Masterful . . . A work of genius.” —Steve Weinberg, New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Caro writes history with [a] novelist’s sensitivity . . . No historian offers a more vivid sense not onl of what happened, but what it looked like and felt like.” —Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

“The richly cadenced prose is hypnotic, the research prodigious, the analysis acute, the mood spellbinding, and the cast of characters mythic in scale. I cannot conceive of a better book about Capitol Hill. An unforgettable, epic achievement in the art of biography.” —Ron Chernow

“Destined to rank among the great political profiles of our time. Master of the Senate succeeds only in part because Johnson is such a fascinating figure. The other half of the equation is Caro.” —Steve Kraske, Kansas City Star

“It is, quite simply, the finest biography I have ever read. It is more than that: it is one of the finest works of literature I have encountered.” —Irvine Welsh, New Statesman

“Caro is a gifted and passionate writer, and his all-encompassing apporach to understanding LBJ provides readers with a panoramic history of twentieth-century American politics as well as a compelling discourse on the nature and uses of political power . . . One of the best analyses of the legislative process ever written.” —Philip A. Klinkner, The Nation

 

Reviews from Great Britain

“The perfect personality for politics” by William Hague, leader of the Conservative Party 1997-2001
“When I was asked last year to choose a single book to take with me as a casaway on Desert Island Discs I found the choice an easy one: volume two of Robert Caro’s massive and masterly biography of Lyndon Johnson. I explained that it was the best political biography of any kind, that I had ever read. I said it conveyed more brilliantly than any other publication what it really feels like to be a politician…

After a 12-year wait, volume three has now arrived on the bookstand, and it is Caro’s great achievement that in more than 1,000 pages contained in this volume he has massively extended his work on Lyndon Johnson without in any way diluting its quality…

Caro’s achievement in THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON is not only vividly to tell the story of one remarkable man. It is also to explain with clarity the lives of the people he worked with, the history of the institutions in which he exercised his power, and the deep social forces which moved those people and institutions to action…

When a fourth volume finally completes the set, this will be nothing short of a magnificent history of 20th century America.”
—WILLIAM HAGUE, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, AUGUST 4, 2002

“It’s a wonderfully written set of books. The stories are quite breath-taking. I read the first two books some time ago and most of the time when I’ve been back to the US I’ve been thinking, where is this third volume? I’ve just picked it up on my latest visit.

People talk of politics as being the art of the possible, but LBJ’s career shows it’s about purpose. In his Senate days he made great advances in civil rights. As President he can claim responsibility for legislation on civil rights and povert that, because of Johnson’s knowledge of the Senate, John F. Kennedy would have found difficult to match if he had lived.

These books tell you a lot about Johnson’s maniulation and behind-the-scenes clashes. With Johnson it all went pretty deep, with stories of how lost elections were unlst and radio stations bought. But surprisingly, with LBJ there is real achievement. He made the desirable possible. Without the debacle of Vietnam he was heading to be one of the great domestic policy Presidents. These books challenge the view of history that politics is just about individual manoeuvring. It’s about ideas and principled policy achievements. That’s what makes it one of the great political biographies.”
—GORDON BROWN, THE TIMES, APRIL 25, 2002

“Many years ago my wife and I swapped houses for the summer with Robert Caro and his wife. We arrived at the Caro house in East Hampton, Long Island, armed with the books we intended to read during our stay.
Scattered around the house were copies of the first volume of Caro’s riveting biography of Lyndon Johnson. We picked them up – and couldn’t put them down. For Caro writing a biography is writing a thriller -in Johnson’s case, a western. You can’t stop turning the pages. He doesn’t like Johnson, but the facts are there so you can make your own judgments.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
—MICHAEL HOWARD, THE TIMES, APRIL 25, 2002

“…with the life of LBJ he (Caro) could tell the story of the development of modern America. This piece of intuition combined with Robert Caro’s phenomenal, almost unbelievable, dedication to his task over 30 years has produced a masterpiece. …Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.”
—DANIEL FINKELSTEIN, THE TIMES (LONDON), APRIL 25, 2002

“Like the Pyramids, Robert Caro’s monumental biography of Lyndon Johnson impresses first for its size, but is finally most memorable for its intricacy and precision…….finished or not, this is likely to be seen as the finest American political biography since Arthur Schlesinger’s epic on Franklin Roosevelt forty-five years ago. From the start, this mammoth enterprise has been indefatigably researched and brilliantly written.”
—RONALD BROWNSTEIN, TLS (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT), AUGUST 9, 2002

“This will not be an unbiased review. The first two volumes of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon B. Johnson were astounding in their sweep, magisterial and gripping, and I have waited impatiently almost 12 years for volume three. As if it were possible, “Master of the Senate” takes what was already an outstanding multi-volume series on to a still higher plane. It is, quite simply, the finest biography I have ever read or could ever imagine reading. It is more than that: it is one of the finest works of literature I have encountered, or ever hope to.”
—STEPHEN POLLARD, THE NEW STATESMAN, SEPTEMBER 2, 20002

“…there is a foursquare integrity about this project allied to Caro’s high talents as a writer which compels the awed admiration even of the skeptic.

If ever the proposition about genius as the taking of infinite pains was relevant, it is surely here. If scholarship, psychological acumen and compulsive readability are the true indices of the great biography, the three volumes to date must rant as the greatest political biography ever written.”
THE GLASGOW HERALD, SEPTEMBER 7, 2002

“No political biography comes close to measuring up to Robert Caro on LBJ… With the risk-taking that betokens literary genius, Caro sidesteps beginning the book with Johnson (who does not arrive till page 111). Instead he gives us a vivid history of the Senate and its noble if lack-lustre ways — the stage that the novice Senator from Texas must learn to dominate on his road to the presidency. Here in the Senate lobby, power is currency and he racist Southern cabal have cornered the market.”
—GEORGE KEREVAN, THE SCOTTSMAN, SEPTEMBER 14, 2002

“Amazingly, after more than 1,100 pages, Mr. Caro leaves the reader wanting more. By the time he is done with his fourth and presumably final volume he may have written the longest biography of any modern political figure besides Churchill. He will also have written one of the best. This captivating work consolidates Caro’s reputation as the pre-eminent political biographer of the past century…”
—LONDON: “THE BIG ISSUE”, AUGUST 26, 2002

Reviews

Awards:

2003: Pulitzer Prize in Biography
2003: National Book Award
2003: Carl Sandburg Award
2003: Los Angeles Times Book Award