Was it ethically acceptable of me to buy Volume I of Robert A Caro's Pulitzer Prize-winning 3000-page Lyndon Baines Johnson biography, get bored by page 3, then exchange it for the Justin Timberlake

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yeah, the college stuff is great, plus 1 has insane coen-inspiring radio flour salesman and charlatan texas governor pappy o'daniel; it's as good as 3. 2 was kind of a dip for me because the last few hundred pages get very detailed about the blow-by-blow of johnson's 1948 senate election and start really suffering from caro's worst habit, which is that he likes explaining the same thing to you over and over to make sure you haven't forgotten; but the stuff about COKE STEVENSON, AMERICAN ICON is fun. (altho he's cast so flawlessly as mirror-johnson it's kinda suspicious.) third one is :O :O :O all thru tho so yeah if you do only read one -- although it will be full of spoilers! like reading only a storm of swords.

their private gesture for bison (difficult listening hour), Friday, 4 May 2012 15:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

WSJ interview.

Just finished the JFK bio in the new one.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 12:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

here's a moving anecdote about young RFK buying drinks at a bar for the football team but infuriated by someone else's birthday party:

...he walked up behind Magnuson and hit him over the head with a beer bottle, sending him to the hospital for stitches. (A few days later Ken O'Donnell apologized to Magnuson; Bobby hadn't come himself, he said, because "it just wasn't his nature to apologize"

or Bobby abandoning a bro who couldn't sail:

The wind was fading, and as lunchtime approached, Kennedy realized that they might not make it ashore in time for lunch. Obsessed with his father's insistence on punctuality, he simply dove overboard and swam for shore, leaving his helpless crewmate to fend for himself. After flailing about, the friend was rescued by a passing boat. Kennedy made no attempt to apologize. Bobby was not a boy at the time The incident occurred in 1948, when he was twenty two years old

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 13:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States.

insufferable "review"

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 May 2012 11:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

I just reached the JFK assassination. Life often plays like a bad movie. Apparently at the same moment the Senate Rules Committee was accepting evidence that LBJ's aide de camp Bobby Baker had accepted bribes and peddled influence.

Lots of lols throughout. I didn't know that if the JFK campaign had been less ruthless LBJ would likely have garnered the nomination in '60. LBJ way with a insult (about JFK: "A little scrawny fella with rickets") glitters throughout.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 12:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

pretty much everything i have ever read about RFK, minus apologetic stuff about the '68 campaign, has left me thinking he was a total SOB from day 1.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 7 May 2012 17:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

Garry Wills NYRB review, mostly just highlights:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/may/24/americas-nastiest-blood-feud/

caro's johnson (Eazy), Monday, 7 May 2012 17:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

any idea what is the worst thing LBJ said about JFK in public?

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 May 2012 17:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

He called Joe Kennedy a "Neville Chamberlain umbrella type" and a crook (he was right on both counts). That's where Caro and Jeff Shesol say the odium began; RFK never forgave him.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 21:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

Caro makes by far the most convincing case for RFK Maturing than any one of the hagiographers I've read. Apparently he really did create a professional, elite Justice Department and did care about the poor.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 21:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

i could swear i read somewhere that caro planned to spend a year or two living in a small village in vietnam to research the last volume, but i can't find a reference to it in any of the recent interviews.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 7 May 2012 22:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

any idea what is the worst thing LBJ said about JFK in public?

the rickets comment qualifies, although it probably amused JFK as much as it did me.

Also: "Have you heard the news? Jack's pediatricians have just given him a clean bill of health."

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 22:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

Erik Nelson: two-thirds too long.

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/07/robert_caros_bloated_lbj_biography/

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

there was a pretty silly review in the washington post: it complained that caro's sentences were too long, then patronizingly likened it to carl sandburg's book on 'lincoln' and said that it probably wouldn't be used by future historians.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

The debate about JFK's decision to choose LBJ as a running mate DOES go on too long, and the book includes too many passages of the "Dormant for three years, suddenly aides saw the grim determination and tight-set mouth they recognized from the fifties" variety. But I haven't finished it yet.

Morbs, have you read any of it?

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

I mean Gibbon's history is also two-thirds too long tbh.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

'another damned book! always scribble, scribble! eh, mr gibbon?'

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

No, I haven't even opened the copy of The Power Broker I've owned for eons.

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 May 2012 23:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

all these books are too long but i mean whatever. what does everyone have to do that's so important.

their private gesture for bison (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 01:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

caro does repeat himself like you wouldn't believe but the appropriate reaction to that i think is an indulgent lol. and some skimming.

their private gesture for bison (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 01:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

also for some reason all of the copies of this on the shelf at powell's are autographed

their private gesture for bison (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 03:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

'caro was here'

lag∞n, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 03:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

"But was there also something about Caro’s pursuit of L.B.J. that was just a little bit Ahab-like?"

an editor let this through?

If the Johnson of Volumes 1 and 2 is the “bad” L.B.J., then the Johnson of Volume 4 is the “good” one. It is almost as if Caro is writing about two different people — as if, for all his reportorial skill, he can’t countenance Johnson being both ruthless and compassionate in the same volume. He has to be one or the other.

This man has neither read Caro's book nor indeed any book.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 May 2012 20:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

I hope someday to become this maniacally devoted to a project. So far my project-perseverance record is a couple years at a couple hours a week.

raw feel vegan (silby), Saturday, 12 May 2012 23:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

guy is too effin' slow, he better live to 90

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 13 May 2012 00:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Caro makes by far the most convincing case for RFK Maturing than any one of the hagiographers I've read. Apparently he really did create a professional, elite Justice Department and did care about the poor.

oh, to have such an Attorney General once again ...

Boris Kutyurkokhov (Eisbaer), Sunday, 13 May 2012 01:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

Jon Stewart seemed a little cowed by him the other night--hardly joked around at all.

clemenza, Sunday, 13 May 2012 01:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

after reading that Esquire profile I'd be cowed too.

raw feel vegan (silby), Sunday, 13 May 2012 01:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

alright i have a library copy of master of the senate

markers, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 22:50 (1 year ago) Permalink


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