The Power Broker

The Power Broker

Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Book - 1975
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Random House, Inc.
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.

Baker & Taylor
Moses is pictured as idealist reformer and political manipulator as his rise to power and eventual domination of New York State politics is documented

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1975, c1974
Edition: Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 9780394720241
Branch Call Number: B MOS
Characteristics: 1246, xxxiv p., [25] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm


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May 23, 2018

Extraordinary in every respect. Generations of city planners, myself very much included, have read and re-read every word in an attempt to understand how Moses accomplished so much--and fell so far. Suffice to say such a towering figure will probably never again appear in city-building. Caro develops the story in almost-impossible detail, and we understand the rare confluence of context, potentials, timing, ambition, political savvy, and unbridled ruthlessness which were required to create the Power Broker.

ericnorcross Sep 22, 2013

A thought provoking book, Robert Caro's historically accurate exploration of Robert Moses who ripped apart neighborhood after neighborhood and used New York City as a canvas for some of the most ridiculous highway projects in the country. What started out as an idealistic vision became vengeful towards the very population he was serving.

Don27 Sep 01, 2013

Quite simply this is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. A real life story that is gripping and compulsive reading. Caro has mastery of the all the details, and none of them were boring, even his descriptions of how municipal bonds work. A virtual Shakespearean tragedy, it is sad to see Robert Moses go from a good government reformer to the worst kind of autocratic bureaucrat, one that has affected drastically the lives of all New Yorkers, whether or not they own a car.

A brilliant, brilliant book. You should read this!

Jun 05, 2012

An excellent, well-written, long read. Am anxious to read the second half.

Mar 01, 2012

A fascinating study of vision, acquired power, and ruthlessness.


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