Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Book Learning #89 The years of Lyndon Johnson. The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro

This was a book that I had waited over ten years for.
I had read 90% of the previous volume over the past five.
I had waited an additional year for the paperback version to appear.

Worth every minute of every day.

For the LBJ junkie, Caro is the absolute fix.
Every sentence is crafted, the sources are varied and deep and, considering the passing of time, often very recent and able to take account of recent developments.

I just loved the retelling of Johnson's fumbling of the 1960 nomination and the subsequent offer of the Vice Presidency. Caro then took us through the key events of the Kennedy administration and LBJ's role (or lack of) in them. The events in Dallas in 1963 read like a tragic crime thriller.
What was particularly fascinating was the way Caro handled Johnson's handling of the transition. The Kennedy family, the House, Senate and the legislative programme inherited from his slain predecessor.

Some of my favourite bits were the human glimpses into LBJ, I pissed myself when reading about the LBJ express and his attempts to control the loud music.

I can't wait for the next chapter in this history.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Book learning #88 Things the grandchildren should know by Mark Oliver Everett

The Eels are easily in my top five all time favourite bands. I am almost unable to fault any of the output of the past twenty years. Not only that, but I have found some crazy levels of personal and moral inspiration from the words uttered and written by Mr E. 

Seeing the band recently was one of the highlights of my gig going life. The evening was absolutely perfect, driving through a cold unseasonally wintery March evening to see them following a profoundly shitty day at a job I could not stand. I had yet to hear the latest album  so the gig was made the better by having to carefully listen to songs to see if I approved.

I approved.

Quite frankly, at my age, I should know better, very much better.
But, really, why concern myself with aging and all that is supposed to go with it?

I got this book for my birthday and read it swiftly. It covers the full run of human existence and offers some gorgeous nuggets of advice to any wannabe creative type. It is written in the style of the lyrics and accordingly, is a true joy to behold and enjoy.