ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ Author Robert Caro, whose tome on Lyndon Johnson’s legislative years, Master of the Senate, won the 2002 National Book Award, will be speaking at Arts and Letters Live, in Dallas, on April 4.
Rumor has it that you and your wife will be moving to Austin to work on the fourth volume of your Johnson biography.
I’ll be taking an apartment there, which I did once before. When I started the first book [ Path to Power], in late 1976 or 1977, Ina and I lived in the Cambridge Tower for a long time. I spent my days in the LBJ Library going through Johnson’s papers, and every night I would drive out to Johnson City to interview someone who grew up with him or went to school with him or was part of his political machine. When I decided that I needed to understand the Hill Country, we rented a house on Lake Travis.
You were born and raised in New York. Texas must have seemed like a whole other world.
That’s what I loved about it. It was so thrilling. I’m a real city boy. The Hill Country was as far from the crowded streets of my life as you could imagine.
What’s the one thing you learned in your reporting that surprised you?
A great revelation to me was a remark I heard over and over when I started to do my interviews: “We loved him because he brought us the lights,” meaning, he brought electricity to the Hill Country. At first I didn’t quite know why this was so significant. I’m from New York—electricity was always there, you know? But then I learned how this one man, as a young congressman, transformed the lives of 200,000 people in rural areas. The deeper I went into it, I saw the power of government. I said to Ina, “This is the