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RetroRay has commented on (2) products.

I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen

RetroRay, January 1, 2013

Sylvie Simmons presents a masterfully written and carefully researched biography of Leonard Cohen: songwriter, poet, novelist, performer, Zen master, ladie's man and Icon of generations. She knows Leonard Cohen and many of the artists and critics who admire his work. We benefit from her extensive interviews with him and countless others. I should hasten to add that she neither dwells upon nor ignores his fascination with seduction.

His 78 years of life provide a fascinating story of the pursuit of understanding, learning, teaching, and the more mundane comforts. His cultural influence is like few others. His vision and talent have moved audiences and artists since the 1960s. He has influenced countless artists, including Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Jimi Hendrix, and Lou Reed. And he continues to fill venues worldwide.

For this reader, Simmons' insight into his lyrics and music offers as much as the story of his remarkable life. She provides us with in depth knowledge not available before. I end this brief comment with the title of his legendary song, Hallelujah!
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Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro
Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

RetroRay, January 1, 2010

Robert Caro is a scholar and an artist. The depth and breadth of his research into the Senate career of Lyndon Johnson is unmatched; and he is a hypnotic writer whose narrative is not overwhelmed by his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. In this volume, the third in his Johnson trilogy, he covers Lyndon Johnson's Senate years (1949 to 1960). Caro's brilliant book focuses upon Lyndon Johnson, but he does not ignore the story of the greatest deliberative body on earth: The United States Senate. Caro shows the reader how legislative power works in the United States; and how the Senate works. Caro also carefully and gracefully takes the reader through Johnson's years of mastery of the Senate. In this book, Caro shows himself to be the "other" master of the Senate. As noted, his focus is clearly upon Lyndon Johnson and Johnson's political genius that led to the renewal of a body that had lost much of its power and luster by 1949; however, the strength of his narrative and remarkable insights include much more: The Senate world of Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, as well as the Senate world of Hubert Humphery and Richard Russell. So much (too much) of what others have written about Lyndon Johnson has focused upon his Presidency. To understand this complicated, clever, dark and cunning man, the reader must understand how he worked the Senate for good and otherwise. For example, the reader learns how Johnson moved the Senate toward the light of civil rights, and on the darker side, how he maneuvered the Senate on behalf of big oil. Amongst the honors heaped upon this deserving volume are the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Biography; the 2003 National Book Award and the 2003 Carl Sandburg Award. After much thought, I believe that "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson" is the best book that I have read in the decade just past. A final note: This book is written so well that the power of its story is as available and rewarding for those without a fascination with Lyndon Johnson and the Senate as it is for those who have studied both for years.

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