Aboard Air Force One in Dallas, 22 November 1963. LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton.

Robert A. Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power

I had a professor in architecture school who said that you couldn’t draw up a building properly at 1:100 scale until you had worked out all the details at 1:20. Whether or not this is true for architecture, Robert Caro demonstrates how well such an approach works for writing history. Throughout The Years of Lyndon Johnson, and most particularly in his fourth and latest volume, The Passage of Power, Caro zooms in and out without ever losing the complex whole he has so carefully built up. Immense as Caro’s project is, The Passage of Power demonstrates the logic of his decision to extend the project to a fifth volume (he originally planned only three). The first 47 days of the Johnson administration, in which the best version of the man took charge, culminate this volume and are well worth the several hundred pages Caro devotes to them. There will be plenty of space for “ruthlessness, secretiveness, deceit,” the worst aspects of Johnson’s character, in the Years to come.

Howard Pyle, Early Printers, etching

Your Paid Subscription to The Berkshire Review: how to get the most out of it.

From the beginning I thought of The Berkshire Review as a traditional magazine, distributed electronically. All of us write traditional essays and reviews, with introductions, expositions, arguments, and conclusions. None of us write blog entries, which usually lack that kind of structure, are grounded more in opinion than on knowledge, and are innocent of the extensive research that goes into many of the articles and reviews we publish. The only difference is that, since we don’t have to buy paper and print ads on that paper to pay for it, our articles can be as long as they need to be in order to make their point. We observe no formulaic lengths or formats. By this I do not mean to disparage bloggers in any way. Many of them are experts in their fields, prepare their posts through research, and are effective writers. Blogging is a mode of writing unto itself. The decision not to pursue it was a personal one…

A Letter from the Editor and Publisher, Michael Miller

It has been a terrific pleasure, since the launch of the Berkshire Review on September 24, 2007, to provide you with a steady flow of commentary on all the arts all around the world, wherever one of our writers happens to be, without concern for the financial underpinnings of the initiative. I have been supporting our ongoing work with my own funds, and our contributors write as volunteers. It has been a pleasure to watch our readership grow—in the immediate way only online stats can provide—to receive your words of appreciation, and to discover talented, expert writers of all ages, sometimes among friends and colleagues I have known for years and sometimes in unexpected, even somewhat surreal, ways. I hope you have enjoyed the Berkshire Review (and its sister publication, New York Arts) as much as I have.

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