Mark K. Updegrove — Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency — Videos
BookTV: Mark Updegrove, “Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency”
“Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency” — Mark Updegrove
“LBJ” with Mark Updegrove, Rob Reiner & Woody Harrelson
Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency
Mark Updegrove, named “one of the country’s best historians” by CNN, is director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. He discussed his book, “Indomitable Will,” which provides a portrait of LBJ through the stories and recollections of those who were with him everyday during his presidency. The session was moderated by Terri Garner, director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
This footage has been provided by the Clinton School of Public Service. The Clinton School of Public Service is the only school in the nation to offer a Master’s Degree in public service. It is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The Clinton School’s Distinguished Lecture Series are speakers whom speak at the Clinton School, and can be attended by the general public through reserving a seat. More about the Clinton School of Public Service can be found at the link below;
An Intimate View of the Indomitable LBJ
LBJ: The 36th President of the United States
36 Lyndon Johnson
PBS LBJ Part 1
Presidency of LBJ
LBJ Documentary “The Great Society”
LBJ: From Senate Majority Leader to President, 1958-1964
How LBJ Mastered the Senate: The Most Riveting Political Biography of Our Time (2002)
The Most Riveting Political Biography of Our Time: The Definitive Portrait of LBJ (2002)
How Did LBJ Make His Money? The Disturbing Story of His Political Rise and Corruption (1990)
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 1 of 3.
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 2 of 3.
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 3 of 3.
The Open Mind: Lyndon Johnson – ‘Master of the Senate’
The Open Mind: Lyndon Johnson – ‘Master of the Senate’ Part 2
The Open Mind: On History, Biography, Literature… and Robert Caro, Part 1 of 2
The Open Mind: On History, Biography, Literature… and Robert Caro, Part 2 of 2
How to Write a Great Biography: Authors Explain the Secrets to Success (1999)
Q&A: Robert Caro – Part 1
Pulitzer prize winning author and historian Robert Caro discusses his newly released biography of Lyndon Johnson entitled “The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power.” This is his fourth book in the Johnson biographical series and Caro promises a fifth and final book in the future. The period covered in the book is from 1958 until early 1964.
Q&A: Robert Caro – Part 2
Robert Caro: Understanding Power (Full Length Version)
The Art of Political Power, with Robert Caro and William Hague
LBJ Versus The Kennedy’s: Chasing Demons
Death of LBJ as it broke
|Author||Mark K. Updegrove|
|Publisher||Crown Publishing Group|
|March 13, 2012|
Indomitable Will is a compilation of original interviews, personal accounts and recollections of individuals who knew, worked with and for President Lyndon Johnson during his five years as President of the United States. Sources include the Reverend Billy Graham, Carl Bernstein, Liz Carpenter, George H. W. Bush, Walter Mondale, Harry Middleton, Rose Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, Helen Thomas, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Moyers, who served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson Administration.
The author is a Presidential historian who has written two additional non-fiction works based on the lives of American Presidents: Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis (2009), and Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House (2006).
- Hendricks, David. “Express-News business writer and columnist”. MySanAntonio. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Langan, Michael. “News Book Reviewer”. Buffalo News. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Monaco, Frances. “Reviewer”. The Post and Courier. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- “The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration”. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120520/PC1201/120529960/1003/updegrove-chronicles-the-course-of-lbj-s-remarkable-presidency-in-indomitable-will May 20, 2012
- http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Stories-offer-unique-perspective-of-LBJ-3516320.php May 19, 2012
- http://blog.laptopmag.com/enhanced-indomitable-will-e-book-reveals-the-true-lbj May 9, 2012
- http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/books/20120427-lyndon-b.-johnson-biography-sympathizes-with-the-36th-president.ece April 27, 2012
- http://www.eyeonbooks.com/interviews/mark-updegrove-indomitable-will/ April 26, 2012
- http://www.kansan.com/news/2012/apr/24/other-side-lyndon-b-johnson/ April 24, 2012
- http://livingthedream.org/2012/04/07/ltd-podcast-mark-updegrove-author-of-indomitable-will-lbj-in-the-presidency/ April 7, 2012
- http://www.statesman.com/life/books/lbj-books-offer-different-takes-on-nov-22-2289605.html April 7, 2012
- http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/books/article/LBJ-oral-history-holds-surprises-3427962.php March 23, 2012
- http://www.buffalonews.com/entertainment/gusto/books/book-reviews/article766335.ece March 19, 2012
- http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/cruel-to-be-kind-lbj-behind-the-scenes/ February 28, 2012
Early life and education
Updegrove was born outside Philadelphia in Abington, PA, on Aug. 25, 1961. He attended high school in Newtown, PA, at the George School, which honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015. He attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1984.
Updegrove spent much of his early career in magazine publishing, including serving as manager of Time Magazine in Los Angeles; president of Time Canada, Time’s separate Canadian edition and operation; and, publisher of Newsweek.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Under Updegrove’s direction, the library partnered with the Aspen Institute on Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, in Washington, D.C, in April 2015, and in November 2015, partnered with WETA-TV, on In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of American Creativity, which aired on PBS, to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Updegrove’s December 2014 Politico article, What ‘Selma’ Gets Wrong, ignited a controversy over the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson as an obstructionist on voting rights in the film Selma, touching off a debate about the importance of accuracy in films based on historic events. In January 2015, Updegrove addressed the issue on CBS’ Face the Nation.
In 2013 and 2015, Updegrove taught The Johnson Years for Liberal Arts Honors students as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken extensively at numerous colleges and universities, museums, presidential libraries, and other public speaking forums.
- Destiny of Democracy: The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library (University of Texas Press, 2015)
- Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency (Crown Publishers, 2012)
- Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office During Times of Crisis (St. Martins Press, 2009)
- Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House (Lyons Press, 2006)
- Staff, Public Affairs. “Mark Updegrove Named New Director of LBJ Library”. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- “Alumni Award Recipient 2015 – George School”. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
- Shannon, Kelley. “LBJ library in Austin to unveil $10 million update Dec. 22”. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Baskas, Harriet. “Oval Office audio tapes highlight redesigned LBJ Presidential Library”. NBC News. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- “What ‘Selma’ Gets Wrong”. Politico. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- “Does the film “Selma” portray LBJ unfairly?”. Face the Nation. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- Ealy, Charles. “‘Indomitable Will’ seeks to give LBJ due credit”. statesman.com. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Heilbrunn, Jacob. “Crisis Management”. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
- “Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House”. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 June 2006.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
The Years of Lyndon Johnson is a biography of Lyndon B. Johnson by the American writer Robert Caro. Four volumes have been published, running to more than 3,000 pages in total, detailing Johnson’s early life, education, and political career. A fifth volume will deal with the bulk of Johnson’s presidency. The series is published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Book One: The Path to Power (1982)
In the first volume, The Path to Power, Caro retraced Johnson’s early life growing up in the Texas Hill Country and Washington, D.C.. (Caro moved to these areas for months to interview numerous people who knew Johnson and his family.) This volume covers Johnson’s life through his failed 1941 campaign for the United States Senate. This book was released on November 12, 1982. It won the 1982 National Book Critics Circle Award. It was a finalist for the 1983 National Book Award, hardcover autobiography or biography.
Book Two: Means of Ascent (1990)
In the second volume, Means of Ascent, Caro detailed Johnson’s life from the aftermath of Johnson’s first bid to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1948. Much of the book deals with Johnson’s bitterly contested Democratic primary against Coke R. Stevenson in that year. The book was released on March 7, 1990.
Book Three: Master of the Senate (2002)
In the third volume, Master of the Senate, Caro chronicles Johnson’s rapid ascent in United States Congress, including his tenure as Senate majority leader. This 1,167-page work examines in particular Johnson’s battle to pass a landmark civil rights bill through Congress without it tearing apart his party, whose southern bloc was anti-civil rights with the northern faction more supportive of civil rights. Although its scope was limited, the ensuing Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first such legislation since the Reconstruction era. The book was released on April 23, 2002. It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the 2002 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, and the 2002 D.B. Hardeman Prize.
Book Four: The Passage of Power (2012)
In the fourth volume, The Passage of Power, Caro covers Johnson’s life from 1958 to 1964, the challenges Johnson faced upon his assumption of the presidency, and the significant accomplishments in the months after Kennedy’s assassination. The 736-page book was released on May 1, 2012. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award (2012; Biography), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2012; Biography), the Mark Lynton History Prize (2013), the American History Book Prize (2013) and the Biographers International Organization‘s Plutarch Award (2013). It was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction (2012). It was selected as one of Time magazine’s Best Books of the Year (non-fiction #2).
In November 2011, Caro estimated that the fifth and final volume would require another two to three years to write. In March 2013, he affirmed a commitment to completing the series with a fifth volume. As of April 2014, he was continuing to research the book.
Themes of the series
Throughout the biography, Caro examines the acquisition and use of political power in American democracy, from the perspective both of those who wield it and those who are at its mercy. In an interview with Kurt Vonnegut and Daniel Stern, he once said: “I was never interested in writing biography just to show the life of a great man,” saying he wanted instead “to use biography as a means of illuminating the times and the great forces that shape the times—particularly political power.”
Caro’s books portray Johnson as alternating between scheming opportunist and visionary progressive. Caro argues, for example, that Johnson’s victory in the 1948 runoff for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate was achieved through extensive fraud and ballot stuffing, just as Johnson had lost his 1941 senate race because his opponent stuffed the ballot boxes more than Johnson. Caro also highlights some of Johnson’s campaign contributions, such as those from the Texas construction firm Brown & Root; in 1962 the company was acquired by another Texas firm, Halliburton, which became a major contractor in the Vietnam War. Despite these criticisms, Caro’s portrayal of Johnson also notes his struggles on behalf of progressive causes such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Influence of the series
Politicians in particular have responded most strongly to The Years of Lyndon Johnson:
- Tom Daschle, a former Senate majority leader, once told the newspaper Roll Call after reading Master of the Senate that “I think the thing you learn from reading that magnificent book is that every day, this body makes history.”
- Walter Mondale, a former US vice president, described Master of the Senate as a “superb work of history.”
- Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister, said of the series: “It’s a wonderfully written set of books. The stories are quite breathtaking … These books challenge the view of history that politics is just about individual maneuvering. It’s about ideas and principled policy achievements. That’s what makes it one of the great political biographies.”
- William Hague, a former British Conservative Party leader and foreign secretary, nominated Means of Ascent as the book he would most like to have with him on a desert island, in the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs. He later wrote: “I explained that it was the best political biography of any kind, that I had ever read. I said it conveyed more brilliantly than any other publication what it really feels like to be a politician … When a fourth volume finally completes the set, this will be nothing short of a magnificent history of 20th century America.”
- Michael Howard, another former Conservative Party leader, encountered the series after swapping houses with Caro for a holiday. He said, “For Caro, writing a biography is writing a thriller—in Johnson’s case, a Western. You can’t stop turning the pages. He doesn’t like Johnson, but the facts are there so you can make your own judgments. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
- All the Way – play
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. 1982. Alfred a Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0-679-72945-3). xxiii + 882 p. + 48 p. of plates: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. 1990. Alfred a Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0-679-73371-X). xxxiv + 506 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. 2002. Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-394-72095-4). xxiv + 1167 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. 2012. Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-375-71325-5). 736 pp.
- “National Book Awards – 1983”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- “National Book Awards – 2002”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20. (With acceptance speech.)
- “Recipients of the D. B. Hardeman Prize”. LBJ Foundation. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Kakutani, Michiko (April 29, 2012). “A Nation’s Best and Worst, Forged in a Crucible”. New York Times.
- John Williams (March 1, 2013). “Robert A. Caro, Ben Fountain Among National Book Critics Circle Winners”. New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Staff writer (April 19, 2013). “Announcing the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners”. LA Times. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Jennifer Schuessler (February 20, 2013). “Another Prize for Robert Caro”. New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- “Biographers International Organization, The Plutarch Award”.
- “National Book Award Finalists Announced Today”. Library Journal. October 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Associated Press (November 1, 2011). “APNewsBreak: Caro’s fourth LBJ book coming in May”. CNSNews.com. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Erik Spanberg (March 8, 2013). “Catching up with award-winning LBJ biographer Robert Caro”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Patrick Beach (April 5, 2014). “Caro, LBJ biographer, is hard at work on book No. 5”. Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Barbara Stone, ed. (1999). “The Round Table: Fiction, Biography And The Use Of Power”. Hampton Shorts. Water Mill, N.Y.: Hamptons Literary Publications. IV. ISBN 0-9658652-2-3.
- “Reviews”. http://www.robertcaro.com. Robert A. Caro. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Official website of Robert Caro
- Booknotes interview with Caro on Means of Ascent, April 29, 1990
- In Depth interview with Caro, April 7, 2002
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about the writing of his fourth volume, January 4, 2009
- Part one of C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about the finished book, The Passage of Power, May 6, 2012
- Part two of C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about The Passage of Power, May 20, 2012
|Born||Robert Allan Caro
October 30, 1935
New York City, New York, United States
|Residence||Upper West Side|
|Notable work||The Power Broker
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
|Spouse(s)||Ina Joan Sloshberg Caro (m. 1957)|
|Children||Chase A. Caro|
|Parent(s)||Benjamin and Cele (Mendelow) Caro|
After working for many years as a reporter, Caro wrote The Power Broker (1974), a biography of New York urban planner Robert Moses, which was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century. He has since written four of a planned five volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson (1982, 1990, 2002, 2012), a biography of the former president.
For his biographies, he has won two Pulitzer Prizes in Biography, the National Book Award, the Francis Parkman Prize (awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that “best exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist”), two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the H.L. Mencken Award, the Carr P. Collins Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, the D.B. Hardeman Prize, and a Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Life and career
Caro was born in New York City, the son of Cele (née Mendelow) and Benjamin Caro. He “grew up on Central Park West at 94th Street. His father, a businessman, spoke Yiddish as well as English, but he didn’t speak either very often. He was ‘very silent,’ Caro said, and became more so after Caro’s mother died, after a long illness, when he [Caro] was 12.” It was his mother’s deathbed wish that he should go to the Horace Mann School, an exclusive private school in the Riverdale section of The Bronx. As a student there, Caro translated an edition of his school newspaper into Russian and mailed 10,000 copies to students in the USSR. He graduated in 1953. He went on to Princeton University, where he majored in English. He became managing editor of The Daily Princetonian, second to R.W. Apple, Jr., later a prominent editor at The New York Times.
His writings, both in class and out, had been lengthy since his years at Horace Mann. A short story he wrote for The Princeton Tiger, the school’s humor magazine, took up almost an entire issue. His senior thesis on existentialism in Hemingway was so long, Caro claims, that the university’s English department subsequently established a maximum length for senior theses by its students. He graduated cum laude in 1957.
According to a 2012 New York Times Magazine profile, “Caro said he now thinks that Princeton, which he chose because of its parties, was one of his mistakes, and that he should have gone to Harvard. Princeton in the mid-1950s was hardly known for being hospitable towards the Jewish community, and though Caro says he did not personally suffer from anti-Semitism, he saw plenty of students who did.” He had a sports column in the Princetonian and also wrote for the Princeton Tiger humor magazine. He was a Carnegie Fellow at Columbia University and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Caro began his professional career as a reporter with the New Brunswick Daily Home News (now merged into the Home News Tribune) in New Jersey. He took a brief leave to work for the Middlesex County Democratic Party as a publicist. He left politics after an incident where he was accompanying the party chair to polling places on election day. A police officer reported to the party chair that some African-Americans Caro saw being loaded into a police van, under arrest, were poll watchers who “had been giving them some trouble.” Caro left politics right there. “I still think about it,” he recalled in the 2012 Times Magazine profile. “It wasn’t the roughness of the police that made such an impression. It was the—meekness isn’t the right word—the acceptance of those people of what was happening.”
From there he went on to six years as an investigative reporter with the Long Island newspaper Newsday. One of the articles he wrote was a long series about why a proposed bridge across Long Island Sound from Rye to Oyster Bay, championed by Robert Moses, would have been inadvisable, requiring piers so large it would disrupt tidal flows in the sound, among other problems. Caro believed that his work had influenced even the state’s powerful governor Nelson Rockefeller to reconsider the idea, until he saw the state’s Assembly vote overwhelmingly to pass a preliminary measure for the bridge.
“That was one of the transformational moments of my life,” Caro said years later. It led him to think about Moses for the first time. “I got in the car and drove home to Long Island, and I kept thinking to myself: ‘Everything you’ve been doing is baloney. You’ve been writing under the belief that power in a democracy comes from the ballot box. But here’s a guy who has never been elected to anything, who has enough power to turn the entire state around, and you don’t have the slightest idea how he got it.'”
The Power Broker
They were talking one day about highways and where they got built…and here were these mathematical formulas about traffic density and population density and so on, and all of a sudden I said to myself: “This is completely wrong. This isn’t why highways get built. Highways get built because Robert Moses wants them built there. If you don’t find out and explain to people where Robert Moses gets his power, then everything else you do is going to be dishonest.”
To do so, Caro began work on a biography of Moses, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, also a study of Caro’s favorite theme: the acquisition and use of power. He expected it would take nine months to complete, but instead it took him until 1974. The work was based on extensive research and 522 interviews, including seven interviews with Moses himself, several with Michael Madigan (who worked for Moses for 35 years); and numerous interviews with Sidney Shapiro (Moses’s general manager for forty years); as well as interviews with men who worked for and knew Moses’s mentor, New York Governor Al Smith.
His wife Ina functioned as his research assistant. Her master’s thesis on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge stemmed from this work. At one point she sold the family home and took a teaching job so Robert would be financially able to finish the book.
The Power Broker is widely viewed  as a seminal work because it combined painstaking historical research with a smoothly flowing narrative writing style. The success of this approach was evident in his chapter on the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, where Caro reported the controversy from all perspectives, including that of neighborhood residents. The result was a work of powerful literary as well as academic interest.
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Following The Power Broker, Caro turned his attention to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Caro retraced Johnson’s life by temporarily moving to rural Texas and Washington, D.C., in order to better understand Johnson’s upbringing and to interview anyone who had known Johnson. The work, entitled The Years of Lyndon Johnson, was originally intended as a trilogy, but is projected to encompass five volumes:
- The Path to Power (1982) covers Johnson’s life up to his failed 1941 campaign for the United States Senate.
- Means of Ascent (1990) commences in the aftermath of that defeat and continues through his election to that office in 1948.
- Master of the Senate (2002) chronicles Johnson’s rapid ascent and rule as Senate Majority Leader.
- The Passage of Power (2012) details the 1960 election, LBJ’s life as vice president, the JFK assassination and his first days as president.
- In November 2011, Caro announced that the full project had expanded to five volumes with the fifth requiring another two to three years to write. It will cover Johnson and Vietnam, the Great Society and civil rights era, his decision not to run in 1968, and eventual retirement.
Caro’s books portray Johnson as a complex and contradictory character: at the same time a scheming opportunist and visionary progressive. Caro argues, for example, that Johnson’s victory in the 1948 runoff for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate was only achieved through extensive fraud and ballot box stuffing, though this is set in the practices of the time and in the context of Johnson’s previous defeat in his 1941 race for the Senate, the victim of exactly similar chicanery. Caro also highlighted some of Johnson’s campaign contributions, such as those from the Texas construction firm Brown and Root; in 1962 the company was acquired by another Texas firm, Halliburton, which became a major contractor in the Vietnam War. In addition, Caro argued that Johnson was awarded the Silver Star in World War II for political as well as military reasons, and that he later lied to journalists and the public about the circumstances for which it was awarded. Caro’s portrayal of Johnson also notes his struggles on behalf of progressive causes such as the Voting Rights Act, and his consummate skill in getting this enacted in spite of intense opposition from Southern Democrats.
Among sources close to the late president, Johnson’s widow Lady Bird Johnson “spoke to [Caro] several times and then abruptly stopped without giving a reason, and Bill Moyers, Johnson’s press secretary, has never consented to be interviewed, but most of Johnson’s closest friends, including John Connally and George Christian, Johnson’s last press secretary, who spoke to Caro practically on his deathbed, have gone on the record”.
Caro’s books have been published by Alfred A. Knopf, first under editor in chief Robert Gottlieb and then by Sonny Mehta, “who took over the Johnson project – enthusiastically – after Gottlieb’s departure in 1987.” Gottlieb, five years Caro’s senior, suggested the Johnson project to Caro in 1974 in preference to the planned follow-up to the Moses volume, a biography of Fiorello LaGuardia that was then abandoned. The ex-President had recently died and Caro had already decided, before meeting with Gottlieb on the subject, to undertake the Texan’s biography; he “wanted to write about power”. Gottlieb has continued as editor of Caro’s books since leaving Knopf and excerpted Volume 2 of the Johnson biography at The New Yorker when he was editor in chief there.
For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Art and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize.
In October 2007, Caro was named a “Holtzbrinck Distinguished Visitor” at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany but then was unable to attend.
In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama, the highest award in the humanities given in the United States. Delivering remarks at the end of the ceremony, the President said, “I think about Robert Caro and reading The Power Broker back when I was 22 years old and just being mesmerized, and I’m sure it helped to shape how I think about politics.” In 2011, Robert Caro was the recipient of the 2011 BIO Award given each year by members of Biographers International “to a colleague who had made a major contribution in the advancement of the art and craft of real life depiction.”
- 1964 – The Society of Silurians Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Public Service History for a series entitled “Misery Acres”, exposing fraudulent real estate sales by mail
- 1964 — The Deadline Club for outstanding newspaper reporting
- 1965 – The Deadline Club for outstanding newspaper reporting
- 1965–1966 – Nieman W. Lucius Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University Nieman Foundation
- 1975 — Washington Monthly American Political Book Award (The Power Broker)
- 1975 – The Francis Parkman Prize awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best “exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist” (The Power Broker)
- 1975 – The Pulitzer Prize for Biography (The Power Broker)
- 1975 – AIA Special Citation
- 1982 – The National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year (The Path to Power)
- 1983 – The Blue Pencil Award from the Columbia Daily Spectator
- 1983 — American Academy of Arts and Letters Award
- 1983 – The Carr P. Collins Award from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters (The Path to Power)
- 1983 – The Mencken Award for the best book of 1982 (The Path to Power)
- 1986 – The Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Art and Letters
- 1990 – The National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year (Means of Ascent)
- 1991 — Washington Monthly American Political Book Award (Means of Ascent)
- 2002 — The Power Broker was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest non-fiction books of the twentieth century.
- 2002 – The National Book Award (Master of the Senate)
- 2003 – The Los Angeles Times Book Award in Non-Fiction (Master of the Senate)
- 2003 – The Carl Sandburg Award in Literature (Master of the Senate)
- 2003 – The John Steinbeck Award in literature (Master of the Senate)
- 2003 – The Pulitzer Prize for Biography (Master of the Senate)
- 2010 – Inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame
- 2010 – The National Humanities Medal
- 2011 – The BIO Award from Biographers International Organization for advancing the art and craft of biography.
- 2012 – National Book Award (Nonfiction), finalist, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
- 2012 – National Book Critics Circle Award (Biography), finalist, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
- 2012 – The Los Angeles Times Book Award in Non-Fiction (The Passage of Power)
- 2012 – The New York Historical Society American History Book Prize (The Passage of Power)
- 2012 – The Mark Lynton History Prize (The Passage of Power)
- 2012 – Norman Mailer Prize, Biography.
Caro has described his wife, Ina Caro, as “the whole team” on all five of his books. She sold their house and took a job teaching school to fund work on The Power Broker and is the only person other than himself who conducted research for his books.
Ina is the author of The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France (1996), a book which Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called, at the presentation of her honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from The City University of New York in 2011, “the essential traveling companion… for all who love France and its history.” Newsweek reviewer Peter Prescott commented, “I’d rather go to France with Ina Caro than with Henry Adams or Henry James. The unique premise of her intelligent and discerning book is so startling that it’s a wonder no one has thought of it before.” Ina frequently writes about their travels through France in her Paris to the Past blog. In June 2011, W. W. Norton published her second book, Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train (2011).
The Caros have a son, Chase, a disbarred lawyer, and three grandchildren. Chase Caro was sentenced to 2.5 to 7.5 years in prison by County Court Judge Susan Cacace after pleading guilty to grand larceny.[relevant? ] Caro has a younger sibling, Michael, who is now a retired real estate manager.
Pop culture references
In The Stepford Wives (2004), Nicole Kidman‘s character attends a book club meeting with the Stepford wives and attempts to discuss the third volume of Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson, but the group chooses to review a book of Christmas crafts.
In the television series The Simpsons, the episode “Treehouse of Horror XVI” features the character Lisa seen reading Master of the Senate in the vignette “Bart A.I.” Caro later guest-starred on the episode “Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing“.
- Caro, Robert A., The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. 1974. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394480767). ix + 1246 pp. + xxxiv pp.: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. 1982. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394499735). xxiii + 882 p. + 48 p. of plates: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. 1990. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394528352). xxxiv + 506 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate. 2002. Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-394-52836-0). xxiv + 1167 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power. 2012. Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 978-0-679-40507-8). 752 pp.
- Zinsser, William Knowlton (ed.), Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-48617-3