Saturday, September 19, 2015

Resisting and appreciating Caro

I keep struggling to get back into Robert Caro's Master of the Senate, which I am about 2/3rds done with, which puts me at having read about 3,000 pages of his in the last couple of years.  I am, to some extent, sick of his style.

But then I read Nicolas Krystof's piece "From Somaliland to Harvard,"  in last week's Sunday NYTimes, in which he described a kid who used to spend two hours a day hauling water from a well to his home, and I really understand what that means to a household when I think back to Caro's chapter about LBJ's herculean efforts under the Rural Electrification Administration to bring electricity to the Texas hill country in the thirties, and how transformative that was for the lives of rural women in particular, but also children.  The ability to pump water up from water sources cuts out that 2 hours or whatever of water-hauling.

So I know that there is so much in Caro for me. I just must muster the patience to take it in.

The kid in the Krystof piece is, of course, the one who has gone to Harvard (with the help of $ from some hedge fund guy), and who plans to return home to Somaliland to try to bring change there. Let's hope he sticks to the plan.

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