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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Paperback – Jul 12 1975


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1344 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 12 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394720245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394720241
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 4.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,190 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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on May 16 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading this book you might well wonder how this arrogant public servant escaped prison. You might want to petition to have every park and roadway that is named after him renamed! On the other hand Robert Caro makes the case for how and why Robert Moses was able to do what he did extremely understandable, and even, inevitable to a point.
In the early years, as Caro rightly points out, Robert Moses' vision helped the city out of its doldrums of the Great Depression. He offered hope and a future when the present seemed so doubtful. At what point did Moses shift from a true visionary to a ruthless, megalomaniacal autocrat? To a neighborhood-squashing tyrant without conscience? There is no one event or series of events to explain this change, and Caro wisely avoids claiming there is. That is not his concern, anyway. What Caro does map out are the paths of destruction that Moses gouged through the metropolitan area. The interviews and extended quotations are very revealing, almost chilling. Moses's sang froid about New Yorkers--and how he cultivated it for half a century--defies reason. Yet this book, "The Power Broker" is as close to an understanding of Robert Moses as we'll ever get.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John C. Mckee on March 20 2004
Format: Paperback
The Power Broker by Robert Caro deftly weaves together a myriad of stories, histories, biographies and sociological trends into a fascinating narrative on the development of New York City and the man who guided, controlled and ultimately placed an indelible stamp on the physical layout of modern world capital.
Robert Moses, a man of considerable intellectual capacity and enormous energy, demonstrates also an insatiable appetite for political power. His flaw is his fundamental dislike for the people he serves. The type of power he seeks is not that based in electoral competition and consent of the governed but that of bureaucratic power in the service of the most powerful segments of society. Having once attained power, he employs all of the tools at his disposal to become the indispensable man, repeatedly challenging his politically elected, nominal bosses to fire him. His ability to continue in office through repeated changes in leadership is a testament to his tenacity and ruthlessness. He then uses the appointed positions he has attained to acquire others.
One of his early positions is as an aide to Al Smith in the New York Legislature. Here he learns to write laws and, using his considerable talents masters the arcane art of drafting legislation. This serves him well in later years as he cajoles and bullies legislators to create special districts, which have as the head of the district whoever is currently the head of the Long Island State Parks Commission. Who might that be? You guessed it.
His power continues to grow through the century and his influence on the growth of New York is inescapable. That he may have done a lot of good is a question open for debate. Are the results of an undemocratic and in many ways authoritarian process good?
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Format: Paperback
The book was shipped immediately and arrived within a short time frame. The condition of the book was good, as advertised by the seller.
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Format: Paperback
One could go on and on about this book. Simply stated, it's the best non-fiction book of the 20th Century. It's a must read for anyone interested in American civilization.
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Format: Paperback
The Power Broker sits at the top of the list of histories and biographies of New York and its people. Caro scrupulously details the political workings of New York for more than half a century and describes the means by which the city was (literally) shaped. It is a monumental work in urban history and political biography. Robert Caro documents the use and acquisition of political capital and power better than any other author, and this is no exception.
What is more amazing, still, is the depth and quality of research. In reading The Power Broker you come away with not only a history of New York's parks and Moses' lust for power, but shorter biographies and histories neatly sewn into the text, e.g., a detailed but brief biography of Al Smith. The thorough background Caro presents is often as mesmerizing as the rest of the book.
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By Abe Vigoda on Dec 31 2003
Format: Paperback
Many years ago a power-hungry man, with the biggest ego ever seen in recent times, decided to build a freeway (the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway) right THROUGH my neighborhood. This was done to many dozens of other little enclaves all over New York City. He ruthlessly ordered many people to move-out so that his highways could be built and he destroyed many communities by spliting ethnic enclaves right in two. He also had the audacity to build his highways all along the waterfront just because of his own strong opinion that the picturesque scenery of the rivers surrounding NYC should be seen by people driving by and NOT by the pedestrians who actually live nearby. That's because he was always driven everywhere he went, and never learned to drive! (This is revealed in the book) The man was absolutely rude.
The image that will spring to mind while your reading is one of Mr. Burns from "The Simpson's" being in total control of Springfield.
In short, this humongous book tells of the story of what happens when there are no laws limiting the power any individual should have. I gave it only 3-stars because the author documents much more than is necessary and that increases the size of the book, which in turn discourages the average person from undertaking the serious task of reading it from cover to cover.
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