Historian Robert Caro has a lot of impatient fans. They’re waiting on the final installment of his thoroughly researched series on President Lyndon B. Johnson.

But his latest book isn’t the final book in the series, to the dismay of some of those fans. It’s called “Working,” a hybrid of memoir and research guide.

There are so many readers waiting for the next Caro book that The Wall Street Journal recently reported a piece about them, with demanding comments like this one.

Jim Sather, a retiree and former attorney who lives in a Chicago suburb, says he isn’t sure “Working” was a wise use of Mr. Caro’s time. “What the hell is he writing that book for?” says Mr. Sather, 71. “I’m not getting any younger and neither is he.”

Caro is 83 years old.

The New York Times’ David Marchese recently asked Caro what he wants people to understand about him and his work.

During all these years I did come to understand stuff about power that I wanted people to know. You read in every textbook that cliché: Power corrupts. In my opinion, I’ve learned that power does not always corrupt. Power can cleanse. When you’re climbing to get power, you have to use whatever methods are necessary, and you have to conceal your aims. Because if people knew your aims, it might make them not want to give you power. Prime example: the southern senators who raised Lyndon Johnson up in the Senate. They did that because he had made them believe that he felt the same way they did about black people and segregation. But then when you get power, you can do what you want. So power reveals. Do I want people to know that? Yes.

We speak with Robert Caro about power, fact-finding and the art of the interview.

Produced by Morgan Givens.

Guests

  • Robert Caro Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian

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