Five stars (of five)
Robert A. Caro is the preeminent Lyndon Johnson biographer, with his massive Years of Lyndon Johnson collection awaiting its fifth (and final?) volume. To this point, Caro has taken much of Johnson’s life into account leading up to his ascension to the White House, but no further. In this short piece of non-fiction, Caro takes the most talked-about ‘where were you?’ day in US history up to that point and turns the narrative onto Lyndon Johnson’s actions. How he was snubbed in his home state, was potentially to be dropped from the ticket in ’64, and the congressional investigation into one of his aides back in Washington. Caro expounds on the happenings of November 22, 1963 and shows the role Johnson played in it, as well as the actions he undertook in light of the tragedy. Powerfully written, just like the rest of the series, Caro places emphasis on Johnson’s reactions and sentiments on the day he rose to become POTUS, and its immediate aftermath.
Caro is a master, no doubt about that.That he’s crafted this short historical single-day biography only goes to show how well Caro captures the untold stories. While something of this length would never be kept from the editor’s pen in a full-length biography, it is a telling snapshot of the goings-on and sentiments of those closest to Lyndon Johnson. A perfect addition for fans of Caro’s multi-volume biography, this is both a telling historical set of events and a wonderful teaser for the next (and last?) volume for whom hardcore fans have patiently waited.
Kudos, Mr. Caro for this wonderful teaser. I am eagerly waiting to see what else you have for your fans in the next year or two.