Robert Caro Fourth Volume – The Big Book, by Chris Jones – Esquire

July 25, 2017

The Big Book Great description of a clinical & cool but productive 4-decade relationship betw. R #Caro & his editor

LBJ #4

“Gottlieb did the same math and agreed. In an industry that survives mostly by lying to itself, he is an anti-romantic, an
unsentimentalist. When he edits Caro, they sit side by side at a conference table and go through the pile in front of them, page by tattered page, Gottlieb attacking anything that reads too much like writing, too much like nostalgia or indulgence. He and Caro have mellowed with age, but they have fought bitter fights, fights that have caused people to close their office doors hundreds of feet away. “Everything to him is as serious as everything else,” Gottlieb says. “When we came to something like a semicolon, it was war.”

…Gottlieb is the taskmaster. (“I can remember when he told me, ‘Not bad,’ ” Caro says. “Once.”) Gottlieb and Caro, bound for forty years, rarely see each other socially. Theirs is a professional relationship, clear-eyed and clinical.

Yet they are also prisoners of a mutual faith. “Bob is convinced that without me, he cannot function,” Gottlieb says. “I have explained to him for years that it isn’t the truth. It isn’t the truth. But because he believes it to be true, it is true.” And Gottlieb has given over so much of his own life to Caro, has fought so hard over semicolons, because he believes something else to be true. “These books will live forever,” Gottlieb says. “We all know that.””