Caro’s works, which have won every major literary prize going in America, have been about just two men. The first, Robert Moses, was the public official who designed and built much of modern New York. The second is President Lyndon Johnson. Caro has been working on his life of Johnson since 1976 and is now completing the fifth, and final, volume dealing with Johnson’s presidency... To understand both men Caro and his wife Ina, his researcher, spent years in libraries, poring over letters and documents, interviewing the same people again and again in search of the detail that unlocks his characters... History, he believes, should use the same literary tricks and devices you find in great novels and poetry. “Rhythm matters,” he writes. “Mood matters. Sense of place matters.” Working, blessedly short by Caro’s usual standards, tells you how the best of it gets done.
His life’s work still remains to be finished. His final volume of the Johnson biography will show in detail how, having succeeded in so many ways, LBJ destroyed his own career and the lives of thousands of American and Vietnamese soldiers.
Caro hasn’t got much time left, and as an even older author, I can only wish him the strength to complete a very grand project. Working is a mere reflection on it.