Thursday, April 12, 2012

Character is fate

He was always writing, and even then he wrote long. His sixth-grade essays dwarfed everyone else’s. His senior thesis at Princeton — on existentialism in Hemingway — was so long, he was told, that the college’s English department subsequently instituted a rule limiting the number of pages a senior could turn in.
The New York Times has a long profile on Robert A. Caro, who " is now spending more time writing the years of Lyndon Johnson than Johnson spent living them, and he isn’t close to being done yet." Long, but not as long as Caro would've written it.


  1. His editor was right to fight with him about the presentation of Coke Stevenson in the Senate election volume. Without knowing anything about Stevenson, I was not buying it, and asked folks with knowledge of Texas history who found it ridiculous.

    I've decided to go ahead with Master of the Senate, and am a couple of hundred pages into it. It supposedly starts in December of 1949 and TAKES ABOUT 150 PAGES TO GET THERE! It's keeping my interest, though. But I'll repeat what I noted before: The first volume is really brilliant. I'd recommend it ahead of either the 2nd or the couple of hundred pages I have read of the third.

    With the new one, this series will have topped 3000 pages by a substantial amount.

    Oh-- one passing remark about that Caro piece. McGrath says no one else is doing projects like this one. David Garrow and Martin Luther King? Robert Sidelsky and John Maynard Keynes? I'm sure there are others.

  2. Not familiar with Garrow, but Skidelsky did *finish* his biography.

    Have pulled Master of the Senate off its shelf ...

  3. I have read all the Caro books on Johnson and they are very good. They are more than just about Johnson maybe too much more. I wonder how he will treat the Vietnam years. A lot of people are saying that it really was not Westmoreland's fault. Just hope Caro and myself live long enough to finish the books.JL