The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV

Editorial reviews

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV

Caro writes with pace and style, drafting and redrafting in longhand before getting to work on his old-fashioned typewriter. He has read every memo, listened to every tape, interviewed every available witness. He has the eye for detail of the investigative reporter that he once was. As someone once said of LBJ, “I never thought it was possible for anyone to work that hard.”

Caro paints a vivid picture of L.B.J.’s misery. We can feel Johnson’s ambition ebb, and believe with him that his political life was over, as he was shut out of meetings, unwelcome on Air Force One, mistrusted and despised by Robert Kennedy.

Sure enough, Caro’s fourth volume, “The Passage of Power,” doesn’t complete the tale of Johnson’s presidency. On the contrary, it barely begins it. The book opens in the rump years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, with our hero — or should that be antihero?

At the heart of “The Passage of Power,” the latest installment of Robert A. Caro’s magisterial biography of Johnson, is the story of how he was catapulted to the White House in the wake of Kennedy’s assassination, how he steadied and reassured a shell-shocked nation