THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON: Master of the Senate

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THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON: Master of the Senate, Robert A. Caro, Random House Audio, NY, 2002, 9 hours, 6 cassettes, abridged, $48.95.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate is the engrossing story about Johnson's early life and career. This is number three of a projected four-volume series that studies Johnson's life, beginning with his birth and continuing to his early political career as a congressional aide, progressing through his years as a congressman from Texas, and continuing through his presidency, and then to his death in 1973.

While still in his first term, Johnson became one of the most powerful leaders in the history of the U.S. Senate. he was always something of a professional "son," playing up to powerful, lonely men who were looking for proteges. Caro calls these men Johnson's three "R's": President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn; and Georgia Senator Richard Russell. Roosevelt and Rayburn were key figures in volume one of the series. The key figure in volume three, aside from Johnson, is his mentor, Russell.

Russell was a brilliant man, extremely well read, dedicated, and almost deified by colleagues who, for his mastery of politics, called him the "greatest southern general since Robert E. …