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

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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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: 15.5 x 4.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" Surely the greatest book ever written about a city." --David Halberstam
" A masterpiece of American reporting. It's more than the story of a tragic figure or the exploration of the unknown politics of our time. It's an elegantly written and enthralling work of art." --Theodore H. White
" The most absorbing, detailed, instructive, provocative book ever published about the making and raping of modern New York City and environs and the man who did it, about the hidden plumbing of New York City and State politics over the last half-century, about the force of personality and the nature of political power in a democracy. A monumental work, a political biography and political history of the first magnitude." --Eliot Fremont-Smith, "New York"
" One of the most exciting, un-put-downable books I have ever read. This is definitive biography, urban history, and investigative journalism. This is a study of the corruption which power exerts on those who wield it to set beside Tacitus and his emperors, Shakespeare and his kings." --Daniel Berger, "Baltimore Evening Sun"
" Fascinating, every oversize page of it." --Peter S. Prescott, "Newsweek"
" A study of municipal power that will change the way any reader of the book hereafter peruses his newspaper." --Philip Herrera, "Time"
" A triumph, brilliant and totally fascinating. A majestic, even Shakespearean, drama about the interplay of power and personality." --Justin Kaplan
" In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort." --Richard C. Wade,"The New York Times Book Review"
" The feverish hype that dominates the merchandising of arts and letters in America has so debased the language that, when a truly exceptional achievement comes along, there are no words left to praise it. Important, awesome, compelling--these no longer summon the full flourish of trumpets this book deserves. It is extraordinary on many levels and certain to endure." --William Greider, "The Washington Post Book World"
" Apart from the book's being so good as biography, as city history, as sheer good reading, "The Power Broker" is an immense public service." --Jane Jacobs
" Required reading for all those who hope to make their way in urban politics; for the reformer, the planner, the politician and even the ward heeler." --Jules L. Wagman, "Cleveland Press"

"Surely the greatest book ever written about a city." --David Halberstam
"A masterpiece of American reporting. It's more than the story of a tragic figure or the exploration of the unknown politics of our time. It's an elegantly written and enthralling work of art." --Theodore H. White
"The most absorbing, detailed, instructive, provocative book ever published about the making and raping of modern New York City and environs and the man who did it, about the hidden plumbing of New York City and State politics over the last half-century, about the force of personality and the nature of political power in a democracy. A monumental work, a political biography and political history of the first magnitude." --Eliot Fremont-Smith, "New York"
"One of the most exciting, un-put-downable books I have ever read. This is definitive biography, urban history, and investigative journalism. This is a study of the corruption which power exerts on those who wield it to set beside Tacitus and his emperors, Shakespeare and his kings." --Daniel Berger, "Baltimore Evening Sun"
"Fascinating, every oversize page of it." --Peter S. Prescott, "Newsweek"
"A study of municipal power that will change the way any reader of the book hereafter peruses his newspaper." --Philip Herrera, "Time"
"A triumph, brilliant and totally fascinating. A majestic, even Shakespearean, drama about the interplay of power and personality." --Justin Kaplan
"In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort." --Richard C. Wade, "The New York Times Book Review"
"The feverish hype that dominates the merchandising of arts and letters in America has so debased the language that, when a truly exceptional achievement comes along, there are no words left to praise it. Important, awesome, compelling--these no longer summon the full flourish of trumpets this book deserves. It is extraordinary on many levels and certain to endure." --William Greider, "The Washington Post Book World"
"Apart from the book's being so good as biography, as city history, as sheer good reading, "The Power Broker" is an immense public service." --Jane Jacobs
"Required reading for all those who hope to make their way in urban politics; for the reformer, the planner, the politician and even the ward heeler." --Jules L. Wagman, "Cleveland Press"
"An extraordinary study of the workings of power, individually, institutionally, politically, and economically in our republic.""--"Edmund Fuller, "The Wall Street Journal"
"Caro has written one of the finest, best-researched and most analytically informative descriptions of our political and governmental processes to appear in a generation." --Nicholas Von Hoffman, "TheWashington Post"
"Caro's achievement is staggering. The most unlikely subjects--banking, ward politics, construction, traffic management, state financing, insurance companies, labor unions, bridge building--become alive and contemporary. It is cheap at the price and too short by half. A milestone in literary and publishing history." --Donald R. Morris, "The Houston Post"
"Irresistible reading. It is like one of the great Russian novels, overflowing with characters and incidents that all fit into a vast mosaic of plot and counterplot. Only this is no novel. This is a college education in power corruption." --George McCue, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch""

Book Description

One of the 100 best non-fiction books of all time according to Time - now a Top Ten Sunday Times Bestseller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
Before I started Caro's monumental biography I knew nothing about Moses. To quote his New York Times obit: "Moses was, in every sense of the word, New York's master builder. Neither an architect, a planner, a lawyer nor even, in the strictest sense, a politician, he changed the face of the state more than anyone who was." The list of parks, bridges, roads, playgrounds and buildings in which Moses was the driving force make his programme, as Caro argues, perhaps the most significant body of public improvements ever carried out by a single individual.

The book is close to 1200 pages (and apparently before ruthless editing it was closer to 1800) but is gripping throughout and I felt sorry when it was over. Moses emerges as a character of Shakespearean magnitude and Caro captures all of his genius, energy, charm, capriciousness, scheming, manipulations, ruthlessness and compulsiveness.

It's a flat out masterpiece: the best biography I've ever read; a primer on how politics works, the accumulation of power and how it corrupts; and perhaps the best book on a major city ever written. All in all I don't think I've ever read a greater work of non-fiction.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book. Caro goes into great detail at charting the rise to power of Robert Moses. Even after 1200 pages and approximately 700,000 words I still didn't want it to end. Tells the tale of New York and US politics in the early and mid 20th century in great detail.
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