Power Reveals

31 May

It’s hard to recall an author who rises to the level of his subject, but Robert Caro is a great writer. Watching Caro answer Charlie Rose is like trying to capture lightning.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I read selections of Caro’s earlier volumes on Lyndon B. Johnson in college Political Science classes, as part of sheaves of photocopies teachers compiled when the books were too bulky. I should have bought the books then, and just read through the assigned pages to the entire narrative. I had a prodigious amount of material to process, and the selections were impressive enough. Now, I just want to fast-forward to the fourth volume.It’s a rare pleasure to read about greatness, about the man Caro extolls as the greatest practitioner of power in 20th Century America. Caro, answering the most pointed question of the program, replies that he is awed by LBJ, I can understand that. Still, after having read many biographies and finding some detail by which to admire the subject, there’s nothing yet I like about LBJ.

“Power reveals”. Not, that conscience is expressed in power. Caro says that “power reveals” who LBJ is after JFK is slain.

Watching Caro I can see him try to slow down his thoughts to express them in words. Caro admits he writes the first drafts in longhand, expressly to slow down himself enough, to think deliberately. I wish bloggers would do the same.

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