Caro’s Fourth LBJ Volume Still a Ways Off, But Getting Closer

August 26, 2008 | 2 books mentioned 2

Just about four years ago, we were asked when Robert Caro might wrap up his much praised, award-bedecked, and quite massive four-part biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. The best we could offer at the time was to say:

Well, the short answer is that they don’t have a date yet, but we can at least hazard a guess. The first book, The Path to Power came out in 1982; the second, Means of Ascent, in 1990, and the third, Master of the Senate, in 2002. So, after doing some back of the envelope calculations, I would expect to see the fourth and final volume (tentatively titled The Presidency) some time between 2010 and 2014.

As it turns out, my guess may still be on target. Marking the 100th anniversary of LBJ’s birth (which is tomorrow), Caro spoke with the AP on LBJ’s legacy. The article offers this update on the book:

The historian says he has completed the opening section of his fourth LBJ book, filling hundreds of pages just to tell of Johnson’s brief, unhappy vice presidency under John Kennedy, concluding with Johnson being sworn in as president after Kennedy’s assassination. The last book will be “very long,” although likely less than the 1,000-plus length of Master of the Senate. He is reluctant to reveal details, but says the Kennedys will be “more than characters; they are protagonists in this book.”

Sounds like I might have just enough time to read the first three before this one comes out.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Robert Caro, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Joseph Califano Jr. were on Charlie Rose on 8/29, discussing "President Lyndon Johnson’s Life and Legacy".


  2. I'm reading _Master of the Senate_ one word at a time (down from one page at a time) in hopes of finishing just as the fourth volume is published. Caro's life of Johnson (and his life of Robert Moses) are among the best biographies of our day.


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