Mjackman's Reviews > The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro
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's review
Jan 28, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2002

Bob Caro has a readable way of drawing you into Moses' life story, and shows Moses' fascinating transformation from reformer to ramp-builder. I was unaware that progressives actually *embraced* the automobile and big plans to clear "slums" back in the "good old days." I guess lots of reformers came up saying, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs." (An apt epitaph for Moses.)
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message 1: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin I think reformers who back slum clearance plans fall into two categories. One is cynical politcos like Mugabe who just want to kill the poor. The other is the old school american progressive who harbors a deep distrust for the city and city life, the same 19th century demographic that got women the vote, invented breakfast cereal, and founded hundreds of strange small private liberal arts colleges. Please don't think that I am against universal suffrage or anything. I just think there's a current in American politics that springs from that well. "I don't hate immigrants or negros, I just hate the neighborhoods they live in. If we could just force them to live in the mountains with me and my nudist proto-hippie friends, I'm sure we could all enjoy Ralph Waldo Emerson and Grape Nuts together."

Mjackman Right: Like John Brown's interracial camp in the Adirondacks or something. Yup, I see your point. Maybe part of the problem was that Americans had so much land for the taking that they could live their settlement myth over and over again, and never had to hash out their differences in the cities. If only the Native Americans had had an immigration bureau! :)

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