The third volume of Caro's unparalleled bio of LBJ takes its subject from his election to the Senate in 1947 to the small yet significant triumph of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, shortly before he became JFK's vice president. This entails a fascinating, capsule history of the Senate, especially how power works (and doesn't work) there and how legislation gets blocked and passed. Background for the Civil Rights act involves a rehearsal of many of the significant events of the 1950s, from the murder of Emmett Till to the Montgomery bus boycott. Caro doesn't stint on Johnson's contradictions, meanness, money corruption, and win-at-all-costs approach to elections and government. Johnson is truly captured in all his bewildering complexity. Though more than 1100 pages, this book reads smoothly, swiftly, and beautifully.
This report prepared by David Loftus