The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York

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Vintage Books, 1975 - Biography & Autobiography - 1246 pages
368 Reviews
One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city's politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today.

In revealing how Moses did it--how he developed his public authorities into a political machine that was virtually a fourth branch of government, one that could bring to their knees Governors and Mayors (from La Guardia to Lindsay) by mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, even the press and the Church, into an irresistible economic force--Robert Caro reveals how power works in all the cities of the United States. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He personally conceived and completed public works costing 27 billion dollars--the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever having been elected to office, he dominated the men who were--even his most bitter enemy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could not control him--until he finally encountered, in Nelson Rockefeller, the only man whose power (and ruthlessness in wielding it) equalled his own.

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... unparalleled reporting, insights and research. - Goodreads
i am sorry mr caro - you are an atrocious writer. - Goodreads
Caro's storytelling, and journalism, is unequalled. - Goodreads
Unbelievably educational. - Goodreads
A really great book: well researched, well written. - Goodreads
Caro's writing style... - Goodreads
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Caro's writing is very detailed and visually discriptive. He clearly both admires and looks down on Moses (both for good reason in my opinion). Moses himself was clearly one of a kind. As I sit in traffic around NYC I often now wonder what the city would be like today had he gone into a different line of work. I remember the details of this book more like a 12-part Ken Burns documentry than a typical bio. 

Review: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

User Review  - Katherine - Goodreads

Now that's what I call a biography. Comparisons to Tacitus are well-deserved; this is one of the books that I'll be referencing for the rest of my life when thinking about cities, power, and how people manage their civic lives. Read full review

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About the author (1975)

Robert A. Caro was graduated from Princeton University, was for six years an award-winning investigative reporter for "Newsday, "and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
To create The Power Broker," "Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, and examining mountains of files never before opened to the public. The Power Broker" "won both the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for the book that "exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." It was chosen by Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century.
To research The Years of Lyndon Johnson," "Caro and his wife, Ina, moved from his native New York City to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and in which he built, while still young, his first political machines. He has spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson's life, many of whom had never before been interviewed. The first volume of the Johnson work, The Path to Power," "won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best nonfiction work of 1982. The second volume, Means of Ascent," "won the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1990. In preparation for writing Master of the Senate," "the third volume, Caro immersed himself in the world of the United States Senate, spending week after week in the gallery, in committee rooms, in the Senate Office Building, and interviewing hundreds of people, from pages and cloakroom clerks tosenators and administrative aides. Master of the Senate" "won the 2002 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Among the numerous other awards Caros has won are the H.L. Mencken Award, the Carr P. Collins, Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
His website is