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

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Vintage Books, 1975 - Biography & Autobiography - 1246 pages
372 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
Caro's storytelling, and journalism, is unequalled. - Goodreads
Unbelievably educational. - Goodreads
A really great book: well researched, well written. - Goodreads
Incredibly well researched and written. - Goodreads
The research took years and is impressively vast. - 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  - Kate - Goodreads

Superb. Will likely go down as one of the best books I've ever read, and yes, I'm predicting into the future of my next 50-60 years of reading life. Read full review

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Contents

Wait Until the Evening
1
THE IDEALIST
4
Line of Succession
25
Copyright

56 other sections not shown

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About the author (1975)

For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has also won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biogra- phy from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best "exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

Caro's first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, every- where acclaimed as a modern classic, was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century. It is, according to David Halberstam, "Surely the greatest book ever written about a city." And The New York Times Book Review said: "In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort."

The first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, was cited by The Washington Post as "proof that we live in a great age of biography . . . [a book] of radiant excellence . . . Caro's evocation of the Texas Hill Country, his elaboration of Johnson's unsleeping ambition, his understanding of how politics actually work, are-- let it be said flat out--at the summit of American historical writing." Professor Henry F. Graff of Columbia University called the second volume, Means of Ascent, "brilliant. No review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born." And the London Times hailed volume three, Master of the Senate, as "a masterpiece . . . Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age."

"Caro has a unique place among American political biographers," according to The Boston Globe. "He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured." And Nicholas von Hoffman wrote: "Caro has changed the art of political biography."

Caro graduated from Princeton University and later became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, an historian and writer

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