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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

4.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,406 Ratings  ·  751 Reviews
For the sheer magnitude, depth and authority of its revelations, The Power Broker stands alone---a huge and galvanizing biography revealing not only the virtually unknown saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the hidden story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York through the past half-century.

Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outs
Hardcover, 1336 pages
Published July 12th 1974 by Knopf
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May 21, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone in the goddamn world (especially New Yorkers)
This is definitely the greatest book that I have ever read.

Midway through adolescence, I began wondering a bit which life event would finally make me feel like an adult. Of course I had the usual teenaged hypotheses, and acted accordingly to test some of them out. Getting drunk? Having sex? Driving a car? Going to college? None of these things did make me feel grownup; in many instances, their effect was the opposite. I had a brief thrilling moment of maturity when I voted for the first time at
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
At nearly 1,200 pages of text (not including endnotes and the index), Robert Caro’s The Power Broker is a big book. And despite its uniformly excellent quality – its Pulitzer Prize is well deserved – I felt every single one of those pages. This book came to dominate my reading time, to the extent that I started using my reading time to do other things, like watching erotic thrillers on Netflix streaming video. Like I said, it’s not a bad book. Actually, it’s a great book. Therefore, as I plodded ...more
Robert Caro's The Power Broker is the Citizen Kane of books. This is not only because of how often both are almost universally praised, not only because they have both become a cipher for what you want to refer to something truly Great in that form of media, not only because they are both narrative biographical epics which can also discuss the intimate details of the personal lives of their subjects, but also because they both the stories of engineers of human society on a grand scale.

Robert Mo
Sep 03, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In early 2012 on a business trip to NYC, I was driving on Long Island Expressway for the first time when an odd and seemingly unnecessary bend in the road got my curiousity. Searching for the answer later in the day brought me to Robert Moses, which then brought me to this book, and as much as I loved this behemoth, I'm still trying to figure out if I'm in a better place viz-a-viz humanity for having read it.

Want to read a good horror book? Forget the kings of the genre in fiction, Caro has serv
This is a book about power...And parks.

For forty-four years Robert Moses through the control of different institutions, often whose formal authorities he had designed and drafted into legislation, created a power base that enabled him to escape the constraints laid upon bureaucrats and elected officials and to stamp his vision upon the developing city of New York.

If the Bonfire of the Vanities is the shock book of 1980s New York then The Power Broker Robert Moses and the Fall of New York tells
Nicholas Sparks
This biography of Robert Moses—the highly influential urban planner who shaped the modern city during the 20th century—was first published in 1975, during a period of prolonged urban decline, adding another layer of complexity for today’s reader.
Can a book be both endlessly enthralling and gratuitously tedious simultaneously? Apparently, it can.

They say that biographers identify with their subject, and Robert Caro was not untouched by the megalomania that drove Robert Moses. The worst problem was his tendency to belabor his points, as if his readers were slightly dim and couldn't be trusted to get a point the first time, or remember it. How many times should it be necessary to say that the West Side Highway would cut off New Yorkers' ac
Aug 12, 2007 Mishka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i have never been afraid of hyperbole so here goes: i bow down before the greatness of this book. i can separate my 10 years living in new york as pre-caro and post-caro. every aspect of my life in new york, the subway, the roads, parks, politics (current and historical), every detail of mishka brown's highly anticipated treatise 'what i would do if i was in charge - the new york city edition' (yes, i talk about myself in the third person) is influenced by this book...this book is so vast, so fa ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-2009
A massive, magisterial work on the man who built the roads, parks, etc. in New York. I'd been meaning to read this book for a long time because the author's continuing books on Lyndon Johnson are superb. The Power Broker did not disappoint. At times this bordered almost on too much information and there were certainly some thematic redundancies. But these are mere quibbles. There is a real sense of 'being in the room' while events are occurring. Caro, likewise, is able to explain legal, structur ...more
May 10, 2008 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy mother of all that is holy. If you've got any attachment to New York, any interest in city planning, and any stamina whatsoever, RUN (do not walk) to get your own copy and read, read, read!!!
Steven Peterson
Feb 13, 2011 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1162 pages of well researched text is what Robert Caro uses to tell the story of planner and political power Robert Moses. Over decades of service, Moses reshaped New York (both the city and the state) and other public structures. He began as a reformer; over time, he arrogated more and more power to himself--and still remained rather out of sight as a figure. He used his power sometimes unconcerned about the implications for citizens. The Cross-Bronx Expressway, for instance, displaced many peo ...more
Jay Oza
Aug 26, 2012 Jay Oza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If there is one book you want read besides a religious book, I would make this that book.

We all have ideas, and very few of us ever even get to create a vision, but unless you have power it will go no where. For example, Steve Jobs didn't get Apple to be #1 because they out innovated others. It was because he had power. If you want to understand power, read this book, since it is so well written and researched. You get the feeling that Caro knew Moses better than he.

This book should be studied,
Jerry Raviol
Although many folks know he is responsible for parks, bridges, roads, and tunnels - did you know that he reformed the budget system for the state of New York? Did you know that he was an Ivy League do gooder that never had a real paying job until he was more than 30 years old? Did you know that he spent his entire young adulthood trying to reform government? Did you know that the man most responsible for the highway, bridges, and tunnels of NYC, never had a driver’s license? He was chauffer driv ...more
Aaron Arnold
This is a six star book. I read it after having hoovered up Caro's LBJ series, and while nothing to me can equal those for sheer writing power, this comes damn close. Like those books, this is exhaustively researched and sourced from an unimaginable number of archival documents and personal interviews. Like those books, it is the study of a man who loved power more than anything, and whose most minor whims have consequences that echo to this day. Like those books, its depth seems to encompass th ...more
Feb 14, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you only read one 1162-page book this year... read this one. Wow. Having just finished this, it's hard to say which achievement is more monumental: Robert Moses's commandeering of New York's byzantime infrastructure to serve his own ambitious vision--the book makes an open-and-shut case for Moses, whom many have never heard of and never served in public elected office, being the most important and powerful man in the history of New York--or Robert Caro's ability to write a definitive biograph ...more
Josh Friedlander
An astonishingly in-depth, erudite and comprehensive (fun fact: the author's senior thesis at Princeton was so long that the university decided to institute a length limit in future) portrait of a man who shaped New York City. Brilliant and haughty, Moses used his supple mind to gain power and implement his plans beyond the reach of public or political influence. Caro shows his subject's great strengths - a love of public service, political astuteness, and an incredible work ethic - as well as h ...more
Aaron Million
Monumental work by Robert Caro - now more widely known for his excellent (and still ongoing) series of biographies on Lyndon Johnson. But this book launched his career, and reading it allows one to see why. Exhaustively researched, Caro leaves no stone unturned in his dual biography of Moses and New York City from the 1920s-1960s. As he has done with the LBJ books, Caro interviewed everyone that he could find who was remotely affiliated with, or affected by, Moses in any way. The result is a mas ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Max rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
The ultimate in investigative reporting - a history so well written, so thorough, so deep and with so many takeaways that it is beyond thought provoking. It changes the way you perceive the world. Caro shows how money, politics and power work behind the scenes to determine events in ways we ordinarily never see. He meticulously details a half century of greed and ambition ever evolving to control government from one generation to the next, from one set of power brokers to the next.

We learn how
Jeff Joseph
Jul 31, 2011 Jeff Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOW, WOW, OH MY GOD, This is one of those books that has you calling everyone you know telling them how they must read this book. Its absolutely mind boggling,facinating, amazing and really quite scary what this evil genius accomplished. Truth is SO much stranger than fiction! This is one of those books where your a different person when you finish the book then when you start(,and thats not due to the time factor involved in reading this big ass sucker)

For many years Ive been noticing this su
Finally finished with this ridiculously long but incredible book about urban power and politics. It's terrifically thorough despite omitting several stories about the late years in Moses' career (presumably because of simple length considerations, and the recency of those events at the date of publication). So even at 1162 pages, I actually wouldn't have minded it being longer. Of course the subject and the story are so thoroughly compelling. Robert Moses did some amazing and amazingly terrible ...more
Nick Black
Amazon, 2008-10-13.

Something about Caro's writing is really irritating me, and I can't put my finger on it. The characters thus far are awesome, though. I wish I had more time to be putting into it :/.
2013-09-13 picked this back up a few days ago, after reading Caro's LBJ books last year. started over from the beginning. really wondering how Caro is going to justify the remaining ~500 pages, though the first 500 were pretty damn good.

Searching the e-text reveals that the phrase "the best b
Aug 07, 2015 Ilya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely as good as they say.

Very proud to join the club of people who can say they read it.

Most memorable sections for me: the decision to run the West Side Highway and Henry Hudson Bridge through a pristine forest, the way the BQE was rammed through 3rd Avenue when 2nd Avenue might have been much better, FDR's nixing of a Brooklyn-Battery BRIDGE, the disgraceful way Robert Moses treated his brother, and of course East Tremont. And the realization that for the middle decades of the 20th cent
Jun 16, 2015 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Caro deserves a tremendous amount of praise for the amazing way in which he expertly depicts the intricate New York political and social landscapes. Few books of this length would not only be able to maintain my interest, but also make me read faster and with more intrigue as it progressed.

The introduction should be required for anyone who has lived in New York. The wealth of knowledge within just the first chapter provides the reader with eye-opening insight into the accomplishments of
Aug 30, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
Long before Robert Caro, a former Newsday reporter, began his seemingly endless series of Lyndon Johnson biographies (last volume is in production now), he wrote this absolutely brilliant portrait of Robert Moses. I knew very little about the man before reading it. Afterwards, I understood not only the deep extent of his political power in New York, but the fact that he was responsible for many of the city's major parks, bridges and the infamous Cross-Bronx Expressway. A man driven by ego and th ...more
Jonathan Green
Feb 25, 2014 Jonathan Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply: Stunning. Some books have to be written, the world would be incomplete without them. An incredible account of how bureaucratic unelected power is so very dangerous, and harmful. And, also, why the Bruckner and the Cross Bronx are such hell when I'm trying to get home from a day in the city. Edifying and powerful.
Mar 10, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eight stars. Should be mandatory reading for anyone who lives in New York City.
May 16, 2016 Dewey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me 8 months to read this brilliant
bio of the public works titan, Robert Moses. Caro, the author, who won a Pulitzer Prize for this, and became much better known through his series on LBJ, deserves all the accolades he receives. He has spent his career as a writer profiling people who amass power, documenting what they are willing to do to acquire, wield, maintain, and ultimately lose power--- in this regard Moses is as an apt a subject as LBJ.

Moses was pushed into government service by h
Charles Gonzalez
Apr 05, 2016 Charles Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have read some amazing books over the past 30 years. For a long time Neil Sheehan's "A Bright and Shining Lie" was my all time favorite because it grabbed me in a way that no other work had until then (1989). It unwrapped the Vietnam war in a way that had not been unwrapped for me until then, and Sheehan's story of his hero's personal struggles, his rise and fall is forever ingrained in me as a lesson in the interchange between man and war. Gibbons Rise and Fall, Thucydides, Halberstam's , "Th ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Power Broker portrays the life and deeds of Robert Moses, perhaps the most important person you’ve never heard of, and through that story, much of the history of New York City in the 20th century. As Caro’s extraordinary research and sparkling prose reveals, Moses was the most powerful man in New York City for fifty years, and the man who more than any other shaped the physical and social geography of New York and the surrounding region. He was brilliant, ruthless, cruel, and above all, a ma

Monkey Paul Wilson
Jan 02, 2016 Monkey Paul Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After nearly 2 weeks, the longest book I've ever read has been conquered, and it was well worth the effort! Like his excellent LBJ books, Caro lyrically describes a man's acquisition of power, the people and institutions that power affects, and the hubris that ultimately undermines both men's masterful wielding of their earned (a manipulated) power.

Unlike LBJ, whose achievements Caro admires despite the flaws in the man, Moses is a figure whose personality and achievements are described as failu
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Why is it not available on Kindle 10 654 Feb 15, 2016 10:36AM  
New York Exhibits 1 37 Mar 28, 2007 03:40PM  
  • Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City
  • Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
  • The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects
  • Huey Long
  • The Works: Anatomy of a City
  • Edge City: Life on the New Frontier
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities
  • The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
  • George F. Kennan: An American Life
  • Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States
  • What It Takes: The Way to the White House
  • Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels
  • Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus
  • Great Streets
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City
  • Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York
  • Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
  • The Last Lion 2: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone, 1932-40
He's the author of The Power Broker (1974), for which he won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize. It's a biography of Robert Moses, an urban planner and leading builder of New York City. President Obama said that he read the biography when he was 22 years old and that the book "mesmerized" him. Obama said, "I'm sure it helped to shape how I think about politics."

Caro has also written four biographies on Lyndo
More about Robert A. Caro...

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“Hospitality has always been a potent political weapon. Moses used it like a master. Coupled with his overpowering personality, a buffet often did as much for a proposal as a bribe.” 1 likes
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