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Texas Observer EDITORIAL Power Brokers c olombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez once observed that in the course of a lifetimeand in as many books as it takes all writers are really working on a single, solitary book. In the case of Robert Caro, that book is about power. In 1974 Caro published The Power Broker, the story of Robert Moses, the man who bulldozed his way through the neighborhoods of New York and remade the city in his own imageand in homage to the almighty automobilejust because he could. The book is a masterpiece and deserves to be read over and over again, as we don’t seem to be running out of ways to destroy the fabric of vibrant cities through greed, ambition, and unlimited power. Today, of course, Caro is far better known for his “seemingly endless recreation of Lyndon Johnson’s life,” to borrow a phrase from contributing writer Bob Sherrill. We lead off our Summer Books Issue with Sherrill’s review of The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, the 1,167-page third volume of Caro’s biography. And since this summer marks the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s gluttonous if not greedy death, we follow with “Excavating King Tex,” Gaspar SUMMER BREAK FOR THE TEXAS OBSERVER With this 40-page Summer Books Issue, we take a brief, well-deserved break from editorial responsibilities and head off to Balmorhea and Beyond. The Observer office will be closed from July 29 through August 4. The cover date on your next issue will be August 30, when we’ll be back with Political Intelligence, Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, and much, much more. Gonzalez’s review of Elvis in Texas, by Lori Torrance with Stanley Oberst along with a brief but revealing excerpt from the TO archives. Austin artist Melissa Grimes provided the cover illustration, uniting the twentieth century’s most famous Texan with the King of Rock and Roll. Grimes has taught illustration and design at the University of Texas, and currently teaches at Southwest Texas State College \(which, as everyone knows, is appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and The Washington Post ; among many other publications. This is her first appearance in the Observer. \(And because truth is always stranger than fiction, the back cover art comes to us courtesy of the National Security Archive, the wonderful non-profit research institute, library, and archive of declassified U.S. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. While much of the Archive’s work is devoted to uncovering abuses of power in the area of U.S. foreign policy, their website also includes the almost-too-weird-to-be-true “Nixon Meets Elvis” collection of photos and We’ve added something new to this issue’s roster of fine reviews of current fiction and non-fiction with “Read Any Good Books Lately?,” Emily DePrang’s collection of interviews with Texas writers and artistsall of whom have appeared in the Observer at one time or anotherto find out what they’re reading and recommending this summer. Finally, we close this issue with an Afterword from Mexico, “Cafe con Aroma de Garcia Marquez,” a fitting reminder that even in times of unbridled greed and profound disillusionment, there remains the power of a good book, and an honest author, to balance arrogance with admiration, and cynicism with respect. BB VOLUME 94, NO. 15 A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Nate Blakeslee Managing Editor: Barbara Belejack Associate Editor: Jake Bernstein Managing Publisher: Jim Ball Circulation Manager: Candace Carpenter Art Director: Julia Austin Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Development Director: Charlotte McCann Interns: Emily DePrang, Rachel Proctor, Emily Pyle, Emily Rapp Seitz Contributing Writers: Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Louis Dubose, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olssonjohn Ross, Brad Tyer. Staff Photographers: Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum. Contributing Artists: Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Penny Van Horn, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001 Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Marc Grossberg, Molly Ivins, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Gilberto Ocahas. entire contents copyrighted 2002, is published biweekly except every three weeks during January and August \(24 issues profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin.Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street. Austin, Texas 78701. The Books & the Culture seaion is partially_fittided through grants _from the City of Austin under the auspices of the Austin Arts Commission and the Writer’s League of Texas, both in cooperation with the Texas Commission on the Arts. 8/2/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3