Means of Ascent by Robert A. Caro
The Years of Lyndon Johnson II

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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.

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About Robert A. Caro

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For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, has three times won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and for Best Biography of the Year, and has also won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best "exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. Caro's first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, everywhere acclaimed as a modern classic, was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century. Time magazine chose it as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time. It is, according to David Halberstam, "Surely the greatest book ever written about a city." And The New York Times Book Review said: "In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort." The first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, was cited by The Washington Post as "proof that we live in a great age of biography...[a book] of radiant excellence...Caro's evocation of the Texas Hill Country, his elaboration of Johnson's unsleeping ambition, his understanding of how politics actually work, are-let it be said flat out-at the summit of American historical writing." Professor Henry F. Graff of Columbia University called the second volume, Means of Ascent, "brilliant. No review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born." The London Times hailed volume three, Master of the Senate, as "a masterpiece...Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age." The Passage of Power, volume four, has been called "Shakespearean ... A breathtakingly dramatic story [told] with consummate artistry and ardor" (The New York Times) and "as absorbing as a political thriller ...By writing the best presidential biography the country has ever seen, Caro has forever changed the way we think about, and read, American history" (NPR). On the cover of The New York Times Book Review, President Bill Clinton praised it as "Brilliant...Important...Remarkable. With this fascinating and meticulous account Robert Caro has once again done America a great service." "Caro has a unique place among American political biographers," The Boston Globe said.. "He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured." And Nicholas von Hoffman wrote: "Caro has changed the art of political biography." Born and raised in New York City, Caro graduated from Princeton University, was later a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and worked for six years as an investigative reporter for Newsday. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, the historian and writer.
Published November 23, 2011 by Vintage. 592 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Received too late for review: Vol.

Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Means of Ascent: The Years of...

Publishers Weekly

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Caro's scathing biography portrays Johnson as ruthless in his pursuit of power. This second installment in a projected series of four covers his life from 1941 to 1948 and ends with his winning the Te

Mar 04 1991 | Read Full Review of Means of Ascent: The Years of...

Entertainment Weekly

He dramatized Congressman Johnson's deep .

Mar 16 1990 | Read Full Review of Means of Ascent: The Years of...

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