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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Urban studies & biography) Paperback – 1 Nov 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1246 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; later Printing edition (1 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394720245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394720241
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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ROBERT MOSES was born on December 18, 1888. Read the first page
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb 1998
Format: Paperback
Robert Moses dominated NYC. Mr.s Caro's Book tells how. THIS BOOK IS A MUST FOR ALL POLITICAL JUNKIES. No stone is left unturned is this telling biography. No tidbit left to random chance. I read this great BIG book for weeks and was taken back in time to early new york city. I came to understand how NYC works. I realized that their is such a thing as unsatisfied greed. Their's nothing some people won't do for power and more power and Robert Moses was one of those people. Instructive also in the transformation of Robert Moses from young Idealist to ruthless Dominator. Instructive on how public works programs work. City politics shown as it really is. Alexis Tocueville would be stunned be America's failure of democracy. I know I was. A great, great book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By patrick thomas horan on 10 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never written a review for anything in my life but I will make an exception for Caro's epic. I have just finished it. It is brilliant.

I must confess that as of three years ago, I had never heard of Robert Moses. This is a difficult confession to make for a person who views themselves as knowing more than most about history. The confession is all the more difficult when Caro lists, as he does in the preface, Moses' list of achievements: builder of the Triborough Bridge, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the Veranzano Narrows Bridge, Jones Beach and their stunning Bathhouses, the United Nations building and the chicanery involved in bringing that prestigious organisation to New York, the Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone bridges, the Long Island Expressways and the complete opening up, to the poor of New York City, of the land and beaches of Long Island. Then there were the playgrounds, more than 250 of them, which Moses constructed in New York City alone.

Who was this man? He was a Jew at a time when being Jewish meant being excluded (he was excluded from his university's fraternity solely on this basis) and being on the periphery of social acceptance by the aristocracy. He was extremely intelligent and a possessor of his mother's (and grandmother before her) fierce self-righteousness and self-belief. He alone knew what was right and he would make sure that what he thought was right for the city, what he was sure was right for the city, would be done come hell or high-water, over the heads of objecting home-owners (whom he derided as 'crackpots') or uneasy politicians (whom he advised to take up a new profession if their conscience worried them).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 July 1997
Format: Paperback
Robert Caro has written an absolutely fascinating and engaging biography of RobertMoses. While many Americans have never heardof Moses, his influence for over 50 years inNew York City and elsewhere remains felt today.Although massize in size and scope -- much likeMoses himself -- Caro's book reads like a novel. A must for anyone interested in cities,politics, or power.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Dec 1997
Format: Paperback
I read Caro's sweeping biographical masterpiece when it first came out in hardcover back in the 1970s. I was swept away by it. I recommended it to all then, and still do.
Growing up in NYC, I was taught that Moses was the perfect civil servant, selflessly dedicated to improving the standard of living of New Yorkers through massive public works projects. Caro's book adds more than a bit of detail and a whole new perspective to the schoolboy myth.
Reflecting on the book, and Caro's recent New Yorker article (describing his interviews with RM and his perceptions of the man) it struck me how much RM, like the movies' Darth Vader, started out with the best of intentions. But somewhere along the line, he lost his way. His monomaniacal devotion to building incredibly large and complex public works made him lose sight of their short term and long term impact on the people those projects were to serve.
In the end RM was guilefully and pitifully stripped of his powers by Nelson Rockefeller, who was no Luke Skywalker. Unlike Darth Vader however, RM was never redeemed.
Read this and Caro's ongoing biography of Lyndon Johnson. All highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 April 1999
Format: Paperback
The Power Broker is the sort of book that most people are reluctant to actually pick up and read despite its wonderful reputation because of its gargantuan size. Much of the book reads like a novel, however, and holds attention like a novel - you'll want to know what happens next. Caro's bias towards his subject, which he does little to hide, can be offputting at times. Most readers will come to be persuaded by the mountain of information he provides about who Robert Moses was and what he did. It's a nonfiction book that engages you emotionally. Those who take an interest in city politics or just NYC generally are quite certain to enjoy the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jun 1998
Format: Paperback
Probably one of the best books I have ever read in my life. If you have more than a passing interest in cities, urban planning, or politics and power, you'll likely love this book. I found it totally engrossing. Moses was a deeply flawed genius, and it is tragic (although gripping) to see how he became much of what he loathed as a young man, all in the name of "getting things done".
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