Means of Ascent

Hardcover $60.00

Knopf | Mar 07, 1990 | 560 Pages | 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 | ISBN 9780394528359

  • Paperback$22.00

    Vintage | Mar 06, 1991 | 592 Pages | 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 | ISBN 9780679733713

  • Hardcover$60.00

    Knopf | Mar 07, 1990 | 560 Pages | 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 | ISBN 9780394528359

  • Ebook$15.99

    Vintage | Nov 23, 2011 | ISBN 9780307422095

Awards

National Book Critics Circle Awards WINNER

Praise

“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 political epic, the definitive account of a watershed election, rich with all of the intrigue and drama that have become the stuff of legend. [It has] the suspense of a political thriller.” –Steve Neal, Fort Worth Star Telegram

“Magnificent . . . Thunder and lightning rip through Mr. Caro’s viscerally compelling work.”  –Thomas W. Hazlett, The Wall Street Journal

“His research is dazzlingly exhaustive, his gripping story is enhanced by excellent writing, and his findings [seem] largely irrefutable. No one has done a better job of researching [the 1948 race] than Mr. Caro. He has produced a portrait not only of Lyndon Johnson, but also of the politics and values of mid-century America.” –Philip Seib, Dallas Morning News

“Robert Caro gives us an LBJ who was human and then some, and what’s enthralling is how this lucid, fascinating book keeps forcing us to confront the extreme contradictions of what (on good days) we call human nature. It’s a testament to Robert Caro’s skill that we find it so difficult to get a firm moral fix on Johnson. Caro is that rare biographer who seems intrigued by his subject but happily free from the urge to either heroicize, psychologize—or excoriate and punish.” –Francine Prose, 7 Days

Means of Ascent is a political biography, a detective story, a western and a character study. Above all, it is a richly textured, multilayered chronicle of a fundamental social and political change and how this change highlighted elements of Mr. Johnson’s character: his powerful needs, tremendous ambition and particular genius.” –Robert A. Kronley, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“One can trust every detail. The sagaciousness and discretion of Caro’s investigations are obvious from the start. The story of that election has all the excitement of a murder mystery in which the culprit is known, but the question is whether justice will triumph. Caro tells it with the same thriller instinct as the old novelists, yet with the passion for accuracy of the most exacting detective.” –Denis Wadley, Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune   

“A great book, and I believe the completed biography will be the great book about American politics in the twentieth century. The story of the ’48 election is remarkable, unique. If it weren’t a cliche, I’d say it has Tolstoyan epic grandeur.” –Robert K. Massie

“Caro’s writing summons a reviewer’s cliches—gripping, compelling, absorbing, irresistible . . . unputdownable. The sentences sparkle. The details pile up in a mountain of evidence . . . Caro has at last set the record straight.” –Richard Marius, Harvard Magazine

“A spellbinding political thriller . . . riveting.” –Arthur Salm, San Diego Tribune

“Extraordinary and brilliant . . . Devastatingly persuasive . . . Caro’s prodigious research, and his discovery of original sources ignored by other biographers, proves beyond doubt that much of what Johnson said about these years was false . . . The spadework combined with Caro’s passion makes for drama more riveting than any novel.” –Mark A. Gamin, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“We who are alive today are privileged to be present at the creation of what, when it is completed, may rank as the most riveting and disturbing American political biography of this century . . . Magnificently written.” –Theodore M. O’Leary, Kansas City Star

“Caro is the premier biographer of our time.” –Bernard D. Nossiter, The Progressive

“No one understands Lyndon Baines Johnson without reading Robert A. Caro.” –James F. Vesely, Sacramento Union


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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