A couple of months ago I was seated next to the former head of the LBJ Library at a dinner, and of course I was really excited and said, "You must know Caro?" "Yeah," he said, giving me a Look. "I know Bob Caro." A silence fell over the table. The feeling seemed to be that Caro had savaged LBJ. "He wasn't a bad man," said a woman on the other side. "He was a complicated man." That was actually the impression I had got from the Caro books--that LBJ was complicated--but I felt like I had said something sort of uncouth, and quietly ate a roll.

In any case, I'm so excited for the next volume. The book club is being planned, the emails from far-flung friends who are similarly geeking out are coming in...LBJ's was an extraordinary life, of course, and Caro's work is masterful. The New Yorker had a heart-in-throat excerpt from the forthcoming volume a couple of weeks ago, covering that day in Dallas, for those who haven't read the preceding volumes. And for those who are waiting, the New York Times profiles Caro (with a lot of cool pictures of his office as an accompanying slideshow):

"The idea of power, or of powerful people, seems to repel him as much as it fascinates. And yet Caro has spent virtually his whole adult life studying power and what can be done with it, first in the case of Robert Moses, the great developer and urban planner, and then in the case of Lyndon Johnson, whose biography he has been writing for close to 40 years. Caro can tell you exactly how Moses heedlessly rammed the Cross Bronx Expressway through a middle-class neighborhood, displacing thousands of families, and exactly how Johnson stole the Texas Senate election of 1948, winning by 87 spurious votes. These stories still fill him with outrage but also with something like wonder, the two emotions that sustain him in what amounts to a solitary, Dickensian occupation with long hours and few holidays."



 



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