- Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.
- Format: Paperback | 522 pages
- Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 33mm | 771g
- Publication date: 1 April 2003
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 067973371X
- ISBN 13: 9780679733713
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 35,121
The most important, acclaimed, and galvanizing political biography of our era--which began with The Path to Power--continues in this national bestseller. In Means of Ascent Lyndon Johnson's almost mythic personality is seen at its most nakedly ambitious. The culminating drama--the explosive heart of the book--is Caro's illumination of one of the great political mysteries of the century, the "87 votes that changed history."
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For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has also won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best "exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." To create his first book, "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, "Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, including a score of his top aides. He examined mountains of files never open to the public. Everywhere acclaimed as a modern classic, "The Power Broker "was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest non-fiction books of the twentieth century. It is, according to David Halberstam, "Surely the greatest book ever written about a city." And "The New York times Book Review" said: "In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort." To research "The Years of Lyndon Johnson, " Caro and his wife, Ina, moved from his native New York City to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and in which he built, while he was still young, his first political machine. He has spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson's life, many of whom had never before been interviewed. The first volume of "The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, "was cited by "The Washington Post "as "proof that we live in a great age of biography... [a book] of radiant excellence... Caro's evocation of the Texas Hill Country, his elaboration of Johnson's unsleeping ambition, his understanding of how politics actually work, are--let it be said flat out--at the summit of American historical writing." Professor Henry F. Graff of Columbia University called the second volume, "Means of Ascent, ""brilliant. No review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born." And the London "Times "hailed volume three, "Masters of the Senate, " as "a masterpiece... Robert Caro has written on of the truly great political biographies of the modern age." "Caro has a unique place among American political biographers," according to "The Boston Globe." "He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured." And Nicholas von Hoffman wrote: "Caro has changed the art of political biography." Caro graduated from Princeton University and later became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, an historian and writer.
"Thrilling. Caro burns into the reader's imagination the story of the [1948 Senate] election. Never has it been told so dramatically, with breathtaking detail piled on incredible development . . . In "The Path to Power, "Volume I of his monumental biography, Robert A. Caro ignited a blowtorch whose bright flame illuminated Johnson's early career. In "Means of Ascent" he intensifies the flame to a brilliant blue point." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "New York Times" "Brilliant. No brief review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born." --Henry F. Graff, Professor of History, Columbia University "Riveting . . . Explosive . . . Readers are in for a white-knuckle, hair-raising tale that could have ended in any of a dozen ways, with L.B.J. in the White House the longest shot of all. This is good history. Caro's treatment achieves poetic intensity." --Paul Gray, "Time" "Caro has a unique place among American political biographers. He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured. Caro's diligence [and] ambition are phenomenal . . . A remarkable story . . . Epic." --Mark Feeney, "Boston Sunday Globe" "Immensely engaging . . . Caro is an indefatigable investigative reporter and a skillful historian who can make the most abstract material come vibrantly to life. [He has a] marvelous ability to tell a story . . . His analysis of how power is used---to build highways and dams, to win elections, to get rich---is masterly." --Ronald Steel, "New York Times Book Review" "Caro has changed the art of political biography." --Nicholas von Hoffman "A spellbinding, hypnotic journey into the political life and times of Lyndon Johnson. Riveting drama." --Jim Finley, " Los Angeles Times ""The most compelling study of American political power and corruption since Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men."... It is nothing less than a politica
Robert A. Caro's life of Lyndon Johnson, which began with the greatly acclaimed The Path to Power, also winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, continues -- one of the richest, most intensive and most revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President. In Means of Ascent the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian, chronicler also of Robert Moses in The Power Broker, carries Johnson through his service in World War II and the foundation of his long-concealed fortune and the facts behind the myths he created about it. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election, for forty years shrouded in rumor, which Johnson had to win or face certain political death, and which he did win -- by "the 87 votes that changed history." Caro makes us witness to a momentous turning point in American politics: the tragic last stand of the old politics versus the new -- the politics of issue versus the politics of image, mass manipulation, money and electronic dazzle.