Reviews

Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

The second volume of Caro's biography opens with a poignant vignette, set in 1965, of Lyndon Johnson's embrace of black voting rights, intended to show that LBJ could be constructive, even courageous, in his use of power. Effective statesmanship, however, is not the subject of this book. As was the case in The Path to Power (CH, Apr'83), which covers LBJ's life to 1940, Caro assumes the role of prosecuting attorney. Johnson emerges as a devious, manipulative individual who would do or say almost anthing to achieve and wield power. Means of Ascent, which treats the years 1941-48, portrays an unfulfilled Congressman obsessed with money and advancement. LBJ was a philanderer who bullied his wife, his aides, and even his peers. Uninterested in substantive issues facing the Congress, he operated behind the scenes and told colleagues whatever he tought they wanted to hear. He also shamelessly trumpeted wartime exploits that had the barest connection to truth. In the hotly contested US Senate race of 1948 against Coke Stevenson, Johnson stole the votes he needed to win. Caro brings Johnson to life and assays his motives as no other scholar has done yet. Ambitious, provocative, and expansive, Means of Ascent, like LBJ himself, commands attention. A must for all college and university collections. -M. J. Birkner, Gettysburg College


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

The second volume of Caro's biography opens with a poignant vignette, set in 1965, of Lyndon Johnson's embrace of black voting rights, intended to show that LBJ could be constructive, even courageous, in his use of power. Effective statesmanship, however, is not the subject of this book. As was the case in The Path to Power (CH, Apr'83), which covers LBJ's life to 1940, Caro assumes the role of prosecuting attorney. Johnson emerges as a devious, manipulative individual who would do or say almost anthing to achieve and wield power. Means of Ascent, which treats the years 1941-48, portrays an unfulfilled Congressman obsessed with money and advancement. LBJ was a philanderer who bullied his wife, his aides, and even his peers. Uninterested in substantive issues facing the Congress, he operated behind the scenes and told colleagues whatever he tought they wanted to hear. He also shamelessly trumpeted wartime exploits that had the barest connection to truth. In the hotly contested US Senate race of 1948 against Coke Stevenson, Johnson stole the votes he needed to win. Caro brings Johnson to life and assays his motives as no other scholar has done yet. Ambitious, provocative, and expansive, Means of Ascent, like LBJ himself, commands attention. A must for all college and university collections. -M. J. Birkner, Gettysburg College