Means of Ascent

Means of Ascent

Book - 1991
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Random House, Inc.
Robert A. Caro's life of Lyndon Johnson, which began with the greatly acclaimed The Path to Power, also winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, continues—one of the richest, most intensive and most revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President.

In Means of Ascent the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian, chronicler also of Robert Moses in The Power Broker, carries Johnson through his service in World War II and the foundation of his long-concealed fortune and the facts behind the myths he created about it. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election, for forty years shrouded in rumor, which Johnson had to win or face certain political death, and which he did win—by "the 87 votes that changed history." Caro makes us witness to a momentous turning point in American politics: the tragic last stand of the old politics versus the new—the politics of issue versus the politics of image, mass manipulation, money and electronic dazzle.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1991
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 9780679733713
Branch Call Number: B JOH
Characteristics: xxxiv, 522 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Apr 26, 2016

I almost did not wish to comment on this as I despised Johnson for his traitorous ways, but must reply to commenter, Fnarf - - there were three people in Dallas on 11/22/63 - - Johnson, Nixon and Geo. H.W. Bush [and a fourth, Gerald Ford, on the Warren Commission], and those three and Ford would all end up as president.
Coincidence? Hardly . . .
Had JFK not been murdered in Dallas, Johnson would have most likely been indicted for alleged murder or as an accessory, along with some other crimes.
From the brutal murder of President John F. Kennedy, who worked on behalf of the people and the American workers and ending segregation and giving us the Internet and all the innovations stemming from the NASA Moon Project, those four soundrels and heinous cretins profited mightily! [And please never forget all the Americans and foreign peoples sacrificed by Johnson: thirty-four members of the USS Liberty were killed with one hundred and seventy wounded, and many would remain in a bad way for the remainder of their lives; a failed false flag op; those thousands of military in Vietnam, and millions of Vietnamese; somewhere between one-half to one million Indonesians, Brazilians wanting democracy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and Johnson ended the speculation tax and approved the amendment allowing American banks to purchase foreign banks, step one in the global banking cartel we exist under today!
[So-called pundits frequently love to remark that LBJ was bad on foreign, but good on domestic, as if there is some magical disconnect between the two!]

Mar 08, 2015

By the time you finish this book, you will be convinced that (1) Lyndon Johnson got into the US Senate by rampant fraud and vote buying, and (2) he likely knew all about it and may have even directed it. Robert Caro's second volume of his massive work on LBJ spares us nothing in his detailed account of the 1948 Texas US Senate race. No one on LBJ's side--including his lawyers, one of whom LBJ would eventually nominate to the US Supreme Court--comes out looking good with the possible exception of Lady Bird, for whom one must feel sympathy as she continues to have to put up with her verbally abusive husband.

The first two volumes of Caro's work paints a picture of a conniving, lying, amoral man, whose sole interest in life is power grabbing, no matter what the cost, financially or ethically.

Apr 05, 2013

Fascinating book. Well written and researched. Caro is an excellent story teller.

Sep 12, 2012

This is the worst of Caro's volumes, because it is the one in which his animosity and naivete run strongest. Caro is great with the details, and the investigative work he did cannot be questioned; but he is simply not an historian. He doesn't understand the one thing that is central to his tale: how politics works (particularly politics in 20th-century Texas). If you read this book, you MUST also read Sidney Blumenthal's demolition job in The New Republic, "The Years of Robert Caro" (available online at SPL). Later editions of Caro's book attempt feebly to counter that attack in an afterword, but Blumenthal's got his number. Most egregious is Caro's starry-eyed hero worship of "Mr. Texas", the god-like super-rancher Coke Stevenson who could do no wrong. But Stevenson could do wrong, and often did; and Caro has no clue. He doesn't even mention Stevenson's white-supremacist group, the Texas Regulars, or the 1944 election, which are both central to understanding Johnson and Texas politics at the time. It's not just that this book is a smear job; it's simply not aware. As Blumenthal puts it, there are 69 pages on Johnson's helicopter and zero on the Texas Regulars. That's bad history.

The other Caro volumes are much better. And this one is useful; it just needs to be read with a corrective lens, like one provided by the Dallek book.


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