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Robert Caro On Death Of President Kennedy, Aftermath For President Johnson

September 17, 2013

From Politico.

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Robert A. Caro’s gripping, 17,000-word account of JKF’s assassination will be published as an e-short by Vintage Books on Oct. 1 ($1.99): “The account — DALLAS, NOVEMBER 22, 1963 — is a digital excerpt [that includes about 30 pages] from Caro’s bestseller, ‘The Passage of Power’ ['The Years of Lyndon Johnson,' vol. 4] … We follow the slow path of the presidential motorcade through the streets of Dallas; we hear the shots; we witness … the race to get JFK to Parkland Memorial Hospital; the long minutes in which Johnson, unable to learn whether Kennedy is alive or dead, stands waiting in a Parkland cubicle. We watch him take the oath of office on Air Force One … And we see Johnson taking charge-taking command of the presidency with his unrivaled mastery of political power. … Caro will be featured in numerous documentaries about John F. Kennedy’s assassination this fall.”

–CARO TOLD US IN AN INTERVIEW YESTERDAY : “To watch Lyndon Johnson take over the presidency is to watch political genius in action. I’m interested in showing political power, and this is like the essence of a presidential power. … You have the chaos and the confusion of the day, and the feeling that there might very well be a conspiracy — that Cuba or the Soviet Union right behind it. You see all the chances for a misstep, and you watch Lyndon Johnson handle that with such a sure hand. And then you see him get back to Washington and you see him pick up Kennedy’s legislation that was really stalled. … getting the civil rights bill started on the way to passage, getting the tax cut bill started on the way to passage. … It’s strategic genius, and the use of sheer political muscle. …

“America was not the same place on November 21, 1963, as it was when Lyndon Johnson left the presidency at the end of 1968. The country had changed, and in many ways the landscape of America has never changed back. … It’s not just the death of a presidency; it’s the power passing from one president to another one, who uses it in a very different way.”

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