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The last 1/3 of Master of the Senate examines how, in the role of the Senate Majority leader, LBJ pushed through a reluctant Senate the Civil Rights Act of 1957. While this was a minor piece of civil rights legislation, it was a crack in the wall (much of that wall was built by Southern Senators) for civil rights. It also anticipated later actions and techniques LBJ would use to expand on civil rights. This section also explores the changing dynamic in the Senate and United States regarding civil rights (Brown v Board of Education) as well as the intense racism towards blacks that persisted in many areas of the South. This section also details LBJ's early toe-dipping into presidential politics (and his failures and lessons). It concludes by looking at how LBJ used information gathering (he was a master), pressure, and asymmetric information and deal-cutting, to shepherd through a watered down form of civil right's legislation, the first that had been passed since reconstruction (the Civil Rights Act of 1875). The book ends with LBJ moving from the presidency into the vice presidency and the awkward transition as he left behind the chamber that gave him power, prestige, and indeed happiness.
This section begins by setting out the state of civil rights in the 1950s, and explores LBJ's own compassion for the poor and repressed (often subverted to his own desire for power). It
Quick note - my two star review for performance has nothing to do with Grover Gardner's read. He did a fantastic job. I'm just pissed at Audible or the producers for dividing this book into 3 sections. Instead of one book that is 54 hrs and 50 minutes long, they divided it into three books (thus three credits). They did this with Michael Burlingame's Lincoln too (but to be fair Burlingame's Lincoln = 109 hrs and 9 minutes). They didn't do it for any of Caro's other LBJ books. They didn't do it with Caro's The Power Broker (66 hrs and 11 mins). I get it that they need to pay for a huge book to get recorded and produced. So? Charge me 2 credits, but breaking it into 18 and 16 hours segments to extract 3 credits seems obnoxious. It isn't as bad as what they originally did with Burlingame's Lincoln. I think that book was originally broken down into 12 (TWELVE!!!) audiobooks with some being only 4 hrs and 34 minutes. That's my only beef really with this book. Brilliant. Well-read. One of the best biographies EVER written.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
I always choose unabridged versions. With The Master of the Senate, that could be too much of a good thing. I haven't listened to the abridged version, but...
The three volumes get into so much detail about Senate procedure and minor votes that a good abridgment would be preferable for all but the most detail-oriented listener.
Still, this is only a minor quibble with Caro's masterpiece. The story in Volume 3 of how Johnson finessed the passage of the symbolically ground-breaking (but toothless) Civil Rights Act of 1957 is unparalleled. A great biographer walks us through the subtle strategies of a political genius.
Note: The unabridged Master of the Senate has three volumes. The perspective listener can only tell this by carefully examining nearly illegible cover pictures. Audible should clarify this in the web site's text.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
As an Australian, I didn't know much about LBJ before listening to these books, which are beautifully read by Grover Gardner. I read them after listening to The Power Broker. Now I probably know more about LBJ than any other person (except Oppenheimer). And it's been one of the privileges of my life to do so.
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