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Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Biography
Winner of the National Book Award
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee, Biography/Autobiography
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.
“A wonderful, a glorious tale. It will be hard to equal this amazing book. I went back over chapters to make sure I had not missed a word.” —Anthony Lewis, New York Times Book Review
“Students of the nation’s history, now or a hundred years from now, will come away from Caro’s books amazed that the years of LBJ’s life have been made so vivid and palpable. Not everybody will need or want all of the minutiae in these crowded pages, but to skip any of them is to risk immense loss, because this master journalist-historian is offering us a unique American classic that must be taken whole.” —Henry F. Graff, Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia; editor, "The Presidents: A Reference History," The New Leader
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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