Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Garry Wills on Caro on LBJ & Bobby

Garry Wills is a master writer and biographer of--among others-- Nixon & the Kennedy clan. Robert Caro, is perhaps the great biographer of our times, and his recently published The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson takes on a time that seems far away, but is well within the memory of many of us. In this piece, Wills does a riff on Caro's work. Wills notes that one of the great themes arising from Caro's most recent volume is the hatred between LBJ & Bobby Kennedy. Hatred, as an important component of this book, overrides, at least in part, Caro's grand theme of the exercise and struggle for political power in mid-20th century America. This piece is a delight, but as Wills notes, the hatred between Kennedy and Johnson brought out the worst in both of them. As Wills describes it, it's like watching two trains colliding head-on.

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