The Power Broker

Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Caro, Robert A.

Book - 1975
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Power Broker
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
ISBN: 9780394720241
Branch Call Number: B Moses C
Characteristics: 1246, xxxiv p., [25] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Tycoons: Real and Imagined by: NYPLRecommends Aug 06, 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1974 biography of Robert Moses, "New York City's Master Builder", has been central to discussion of Moses and the history of 20th-century New York.

A massive biography of the man who became the most powerful nonelected official in New York and who used that power to influence the lives of millions of people.

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Sep 22, 2013
  • ericnorcross rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Sep 01, 2013
  • Don27 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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


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