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Jonathan Potts

I'm going to have to read those articles. But it's important to note that "The Power Broker" was not merely a criticism of Moses' projects (though Caro certainly objected to several) but a critique as well as how those projects were accomplished. It was about how Moses made himself virtually unaccountable to the public and unanswerable to elected officials. It's about how he invented the authority, an entity that uses public money but essentially lives under the rules that govern private organizations. Our cities still are tyrannized by these authorities today. It was about a man who abused and ignored the democratic process to impose his own vision on a city that didn't necessarily share it.

As Caro himself noted in the book, New York might not have been better without Moses--just different. And it is impossible to know how the city would have evolved. Maybe it wouldn't have been as prosperous today. Or maybe it would be even more prosperous. To paraphrase a line from "Unforgiven", when you destroy a neighborhood, you destroy not only everything it is now, but everything it is ever going to be.

Mark Stroup

Who benefits from a takedown of Robert Caro?

I never read "The Power Broker" but I did read Caro's first book on Lyndon Johnson, "The Path to Power". The reaction to that book was fierce. And I think I know why. Caro is very good at pointing out the shortcomings and pathologies of our leaders, and leaves us with a strong message of "Don't trust them." This is a very unsettling idea for some people.

My favorite quote in the article comes from Caro:

"[Moses'] highways and bridges and tunnels are awesome all right, but no aspect of those highways and bridges and tunnels is as awesome as the congestion on them."


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