LBJ Biographer Aims for Eternity

Tireless writer published average of one book every ten years
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2009 6:56 PM CST
In this March 16, 1964 file photo, Robert Moses, right, talks with Huntington Hartford. Robert Caro rose to fame with a massive biography of Moses in 1974.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Lyndon Johnson's biographer takes his work seriously—so much so, he didn't cover LBJ's presidency for 30 years, Newsweek reports. Rising from the tabloid world in the 1960s, Robert Caro first wrote a painstaking biography of New York mogul Robert Moses. Next came a volume on LBJ's youth; Caro even slept outdoors in rural Texas to get a feel for it. History "can be literature in the deepest and highest sense of that term," Caro says.

Now tackling his fourth and final volume on LBJ, the Pulitzer Prize winner shows up daily at his Manhattan office in jacket and tie. Rules govern the placement of notes and outlines; he rewrites galleys and proofs at length. Whether his work ethic leads to success, Caro can't say, "because the test of whether something is literature is whether it endures for a long time."