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“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” is a book on how American cities spoiled great opportunities of having livable and enjoyable places in the twentieth century because of a bureaucrat who was very powerful called Robert Moses. Robert Moses, who happens to be both the victim and the cause of this betrayal, is given great focus in this book through explanations of how and why he was the major cause. The book, as such, gives an in-depth and detailed Robert’s slow rise to absolute power through his public works that were very massive, parks planning and the fall and decline of his ruling after refusing to step down in old age. The book gives details of how through Moses’ own creation, he became more and more of the ruling system while at the same time, he became less and less closer and in touch with the people he ruled (Caro, 1974).
Through the system, New York’s tunnels and bridges became its toll gathering mechanisms. Moses’ peculiar inventions of “authority” as being an institution led to the creation of authorities like the Tennessee Valley and the Port Authority which were not either fully private nor fully governmental. The establishment of these authorities by Moses as his cash cows enabled him to be antidemocratically arrogant and keep him in power for a long period of time. The book is therefore a good answer for any new people in the City of New York and for those individuals who may wondering about the poor layout of the infrastructure and general roadways in the City of New York. At the height of his power, other smaller cities in America visited New York and therefore negatively emulated the antidemocratic methods exhibited by Moses during his reign. The construction of long train systems and expensive commuter light trail systems in America is something that should have been done a long time ago and should not have led to the current mania of devaluing the current American infrastructure (Caro, 1974).
This extremely wonky and long book in discussion of policy sets the tone for America’s further psycho biography and political biography through various writers. The book is amazingly an in depth piece of research. The power entrusted to Moses depicts how he was at first a true and dedicated servant of the people and reformer but who later became tainted because of the absolute power he wielded. Moreover, the author further explains how there was no way one could have stood in the way of Moses once he was firmly entrenched in his typical tactics of creating a big public work like a bridge only to underestimate the budget. Through his tactics of designing great works and underestimating them, it was easier or the politicians not only to approve the budget but also fund it. Because the politicians had a fear of being linked to unfinished projects, the book explains how the politicians were readily willing to approve more funding for projects which had stalled half way due to lack of money so as to take credit for it (Caro, 1974).
The book explains how Moses struggled to achieve good publicity through controlling public opinion and the press, tactics which have been adopted by some other leaders in New York City (NYC). It is also through the book that Robert Moses is brought back to deconstructs and human scale through his impacts on the city. The book depicts Robert Moses as being single minded. This massive piece of work depicts Robert Moses as being of the most influential, powerful and important personalities that existed during the 2nd half of the twentieth century because it depicts him as being an individual who for worse or for the better wielded great powers in New York through creation of models of the contemporary highway transportation systems. All these, he did, without democratically being in a public office through elections. For the most part of the book, Caro addresses large themes through expansion even though critics of the book complain that the work undoubtedly needed serious editing to reduce the one thousand, one hundred and sixty pages (1162) (Caro, 1974).
“The Power Broker” in some way poses a question to its readers as to whether American democracy really works or not. The answer to this question is definitely a big “NO” basing on the Model of Moses as a life model. By having a desire to put to an end the rampant corruption and favoritism that had strongly entangled New York, “The Power Broker” explains how Moses through his passion for reforms through the establishment of influential stakeholders who included big businesses, banks, unions and even politicians. Through this network of influential stakeholders, Moses uses this power to establish an enormous system of transportation in New York despite objections. The book is a good explanation of how much it costs to possess power (Caro, 1974).
The costs of power are better exhibited by Caro’s book which explain that political looses existed during his reign and during Robert Moses’ reign, he proved to be ruthless and mass transportation was the greatest looser because of his refusal of accommodating plans for train, bus and subways for improvements and terming automobiles as being the mode of transportation that was so premier. The author explains how the working lass and the poor all become losers in the reign of Robert Moses game of power since he had no respects for the poor and the dark skinned and even went further to destroy the neighborhoods because of his grand building schemes. In addition, the author explains how through Robert Moses’ vision, all Americans have lost because of his idea that the transportation problems can better be solved though the construction of more infrastructure, bridges and roads to cater or commuters living in far places of work while people living in cities suffered in traffic jams. Caro’s book, “The Power Broker” is therefore a tremendous work because of its grand achievement, grand documentation and grand vision (Caro, 1974).
From this book one can be able to realize that Robert Moses is responsible for reforming New York’s budget system and that he spent his adulthood attempting to reform the government and he is responsible for New York’s tunnels, bridges, highways, roads and parks and quite fascinating is the fact that Robert Moses did not even have a driver’s license. All in all, Robert Caro’s book is a must read for any individual who aspires to serve in public service because it depicts how Robert Moses was transformed from being a reformer to a ramp builder (Caro, 1974).