Friday, February 8, 2013

Pulitzer Prize Winning Biographer Will Deliver Davidson Lecture Feb. 26

Davidson College invites the public to a talk on Tuesday evening, February 26, by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert A. Caro. Caro has won virtually every major literary honor in American letters for his five major works.

The first Pulitzer honored The Power Broker, Caro's 1975 study of New York politician Robert Moses. His second Pulitzer came in 2003 and honored Master of the Senate, the third volume of Caro's four-volume examination of former United States President Lyndon B. Johnson. The other volumes of Caro's books on President Johnson are titled The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, and The Passage of Power.

The lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall, and will be followed by a reception and book signing. Admission is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Free tickets are available for pickup in person at the box office in the Alvarez College Union from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. They will also be free and available at the door if any remain at the time of the lecture. Reserved tickets are also available for a $3 handling fee online at<> or by telephone at 704-894-2135.

Caro's honors include two National Book Critics Circle Awards for best nonfiction book of the year, the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the National Academy of Arts, and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians for the book that "best exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." He also received the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama.

The Power Broker was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century, and by Time magazine as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time. The Years of Lyndon Johnson was called by the London Times "the greatest biography of our era."

In writing his first book, The Power Broker, Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, including top aides. He also examined mountains of files never opened to the public. Fellow author David Halberstam it is "surely the greatest book ever written about a city."

To research The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Caro and his wife, Ina, moved to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and built his political machine. Caro spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson's life.

Endowed through an anonymous gift, the Conarroe Lectureship seeks to enhance the literary experience of Davidson students by bringing a renowned literary figure to campus each year. It honors Joel Conarroe, a 1956 Davidson graduate and life-long contributor to the literary arts. Conarroe served as chair of the John Simon Gugenheim Memorial Foundation, president of PEN American Center, executive director of the Modern Language Association and as Chair of the English department and Dean of Arts and Sciences at University of Pennsylvania. Past Conarroe Lecturers at Davidson have been Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Cunningham, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Michael Chabon, Russell Banks, Margaret Atwood, W.S. Merwin and Edward Hirsch.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.