Robert A. Caro’s fourth volume of biography of former U.S. president Lyndon Baines Johnson is every bit as masterful as the first three. It details precisely how he was so amazingly successful in handling the transition of power when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
Johnson not only managed to retain almost all of Kennedy’s team, despite humiliations and poisoned relationships before that fateful day, but also broke logjams in Congress and the Senate to gain passage of an economy-stimulating tax cut and a civil rights bill that ended segregation. It was, as Caro explains, an amazing political feat that the Kennedys could never have hoped to accomplish.
Caro is now working on the fifth and, one expects, final book of biography, one that will tell how Johnson fell from his pinnacle of success. (Knopf)