Review: On Power, Robert A. Caro

Rating: 3 out of 5

I’m finding it difficult to rate this. Overall, I was disappointed but my disappointment was with the packaging and not the content. For what is advertised as “an exclusive” one would want to see information in this that is new, that is extra. Right now, this is not the case because “On Working” is both more extensive and more thorough in covering the same topics. The only difference is that this is read by the author while “On Working” was not available as an audiobook last I looked. In that sense, I suppose this is a teaser into Caro’s working and methodology but I can’t recommend it either way.

The essay—for this is what it is—covers Caro’s earliest working days up to when he realised both that Moses was not a particularly consistent man with respect to who he followed when he tried to get something built. For LBJ, Caro describes the original step of going into Johnson City to learn about the man; but also about going to learn about the times and the difficulties that accompanied every step prior to the arrival of electricity in those rural Texas areas.

I enjoyed listening to this. More than that, I enjoyed remembering how it felt to listen to these events the first time round and to really understand what the changes that these two men implemented meant. Yet, in all of this the human cost of these elements also comes through—I think this is what makes Caro so eminently readable.

I wholeheartedly recommend Caro—but instead of this title, pick up “On Writing”!

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