The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Urban studies & biography)

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A Tragic Tale of the (Mis)Use and Abuse of Power - While this book at times seems insufferably long and the reader's interest will undoubtedly flag during some of its less exciting passages, "The Power Broker" is well-worth the time and effort required to complete it: its ending is possibly the most powerful of any book I have ever read. Chapter by chapter, in meticulous, well-documented detail, Caro builds a powerful indictment of an unelected public official who accumulated unrivaled power and used it to remold New York City and State - mostly for the worse - with massive highways, parks and public works projects. While some view Robert Moses simply as a "reformer gone bad," a man of incredible talent and intellect who allowed his lust for power to destroy his ability to do good, his story also reveals the vices common to almost all reformers, such as the tendency to look at the people they govern as an impersonal mass without considering the needs of individuals, or the harmful effects reform...
One of the best biographies ever... - I was supposed to read this book for a class I was taking during a sabbatical. The teacher realized we would be upset at the length of the book and assigned the book more as a "strongly suggested reading." I bought the book and couldn't imagine why a lengthy book about Robert Moses would be worth my time - so many books to read and so little time! I picked it up this summer and started reading...I found myself totally engrossed and mesmerized. I even started highlighting passages and talking about different aspects of the book to my family - whether they wanted to hear about it or not! If you are interested in New York City history, political power, and "how things work," this is a fascinating epic. Not only Robert Moses, but other political figures such as Alfred E. Smith, Jimmy Walker, and others come alive in this most excellent and worthwhile biographies. Don't miss it!
Don't blame us--blame the "Authority" - Everyone knows--or intuitively feels--that American cities had some great opportunities to become enjoyable, livable places during the course of the 20th Century but somehow blew the opportunity. This book explains a major component of why and how the betrayal occurred by focusing on the man who was both the cause and the victim of the betrayal, a powerful bureaucrat little known outside of metropolitan New York, Robert Moses.The book details Moses' slow rise to power as an idealistic Wilsonian Democrat fighting the entrenched power of corrupt Tammany Hall politics, his novel approach to parks planning (he virtually invented the "parkway," for example), his massive public works (among them the Triborough Bridge and all of New York City's expressways), and his inevitable decline and fall after he refused to relinquish power in old age.As time wore on Moses became less and less the man of the people and more and more the man of the system of his own...