Master of the Senate


Master of the Senate is a highly acclaimed historical book written by Robert A. Caro. It is the third volume in his series entitled “The Years of Lyndon Johnson.” Published in 2002, this book focuses on the political career of Lyndon B. Johnson, specifically his role as the Majority Leader of the United States Senate from 1955 to 1960.

The Story

In Master of the Senate, Caro meticulously narrates the transformative five-year period in Johnson’s life and the significant impact it had on American politics. The book explores the Senate’s internal operations, Johnson’s political tactics, and his pursuit of power and influence to pass key legislative measures.

Caro delves into the events and challenges Johnson faced during this period, including his method of manipulating committee assignments, cultivating relationships with other senators, and championing the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Through meticulous research and interviews with numerous sources, Caro paints a vivid picture of Johnson’s rise to power.

Awards, Criticism, and Praise

Master of the Senate received widespread critical acclaim and numerous awards. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in 2003, along with the National Book Award for Nonfiction the same year. Caro’s meticulous research, compelling narrative, and insightful analysis garnered widespread praise from both literary and political circles.

The book’s attention to detail and its exploration of Johnson’s complex character received particular acclaim. Critics lauded Caro’s ability to humanize Johnson while providing a comprehensive understanding of his motivations, strengths, and flaws.

Important Characters

Master of the Senate introduces readers to a range of significant characters who played crucial roles during Johnson’s tenure as Majority Leader:

1. Lyndon B. Johnson: The central focus of the book, Johnson’s political maneuvering and desire for power are explored in great depth.

2. Richard Russell Jr.: A prominent senator from Georgia and a close ally of Johnson, Russell had a significant influence on shaping Senate policy during the period covered in the book.

3. Hubert Humphrey: Another influential senator and future vice president, Humphrey collaborated closely with Johnson on various legislative initiatives.

4. Sam Rayburn: The long-serving Speaker of the House, Rayburn played a role in helping Johnson navigate the complex landscape of Congress.

5. Other Senators: The book also highlights several other senators who played important roles in shaping legislation and supporting or challenging Johnson’s objectives throughout his tenure.

These characters, among others, contribute to the rich tapestry of political maneuverings and power struggles Caro encapsulates within the pages of Master of the Senate.


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