As I stand among the Sturm and Drang of the 2011 General Assembly races, I received truly exciting news…
Robert Caro will release volume 4 of his biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson on May 1, 2012. “The Passage of Power” will take up where “Master of the Senate” concluded, and cover the years 1958 to 1964.
It has been a wonderous path Caro himself has trod, as this article describes.
One additional news bit is that what was originally announced as a four book series has been extended to five. Mr. Caro will cover LBJ’s presidential attempt in 1960 through election in his own right in 1964 in Volume 4, then the Great Society and Vietnam through to LBJ’s death in volume 5.
The books are wonderous excursions into not just the life of a president but the life of a region, then a country, and how those places lived and grew. The Caro books are wonderous as much for their side stories as for the biography of the selected individual. His description of the importance of bringing electricity to the Texas Hill country, and how it changed lives, is a marvelous passage almost worthy of a book itself.
In addition these side excursions which so wonderfully frame the main story, I look forward to what I call the “Cornerstone Biographies” that will likely seen in Volume 4.
In all the LBJ books plus “The Power Broker” ( a biography of Robert Moses) Caro has selected one or two people who were critical to helping or hindering the book subject and written mini biographies of them to show how they fit into Moses/LBJ’s life. In fact, his 15000 words on Sam Rayburn in “Path to Power” was considered to be the best biographical effort about Sam Rayburn until D.B. Hardemann wrote the definitive Rayburn bio in 1989.
The past cornerstones are:
The Power Broker: Al Smith, Nelson Rockefeller
Path to Power: Sam Rayburn
Means of Ascent: Coke Stevenson
Master of the Senate: Richard Russell, Hubert Humphrey
The Passage of Power-???
The question is simply delicious to me…who will it be, and how many will it be? One or Two Cornerstones? The possibilities are just incredible…JFK, RFK, MLK, Adlai Stevenson, and my personal favorite-Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate in the 1960’s who played such a key role in bringing in GOP votes in favor of Civil Rights legislation.
We shall see…as of now, May 1 is circled in red ink on my calendar!