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Extended Audio Sample The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, by Robert A. Caro Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,753 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert A. Caro Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9780307914187
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For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has also won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best “exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist.” In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

To create his first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, including a score of his top aides. He examined mountains of files never opened to the public. Everywhere acclaimed as a modern classic, The Power Broker was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century. It is, according to David Halberstam, “Surely the greatest book ever written about a city.” And The New York Times Book Review said: “In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort.”

To research The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Caro and his wife, Ina, moved from his native New York City to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and in which he built, while still young, his first political machine. He has spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson’s life, many of whom had never before been interviewed. The first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, was cited by The Washington Post as “proof that we live in a great age of biography . . . [a book] of radiant excellence . . . Caro’s evocation of the Texas Hill Country, his elaboration of Johnson’s unsleeping ambition, his understanding of how politics actually work, are–let it be said flat out–at the summit of American historical writing.” Professor Henry F. Graff of Columbia University called the second volume, Means of Ascent, “brilliant. No review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born.” And the London Times hailed volume three, Master of the Senate, as “a masterpiece . . . Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.” In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

“Caro has a unique place among American political biographers,” according to The Boston Globe. “He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured.” And Nicholas von Hoffman wrote: “Caro has changed the art of political biography.”

Caro graduated from Princeton University and later became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, an historian and writer. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • One of the most exciting, un-put-downable books I have ever read. This is definitive biography, urban history, and investigative journalism. This is a study of the corruption which power exerts on those who wield it to set beside Tacitus and his emperors, Shakespeare and his kings. Daniel Berger, Baltimore Evening Sun
  • Fascinating, every oversize page of it. Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek
  • A study of municipal power that will change the way any reader of the book hereafter peruses his newspaper. Philip Herrera, Time
  • A triumph, brilliant and totally fascinating. A majestic, even Shakespearean, drama about the interplay of power and personality. Justin Kaplan
  • In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort. Richard C. Wade, The New York Times Book Review
  • The feverish hype that dominates the merchandising of arts and letters in America has so debased the language that, when a truly exceptional achievement comes along, there are no words left to praise it. Important, awesome, compelling--these no longer summon the full flourish of trumpets this book deserves. It is extraordinary on many levels and certain to endure. William Greider, The Washington Post Book World
  • Apart from the book's being so good as biography, as city history, as sheer good reading, The Power Broker is an immense public service. Jane Jacobs
  • Required reading for all those who hope to make their way in urban politics; for the reformer, the planner, the politician and even the ward heeler. Jules L. Wagman, Cleveland Press
  • An extraordinary study of the workings of power, individually, institutionally, politically, and economically in our republic.  Edmund Fuller, The Wall Street Journal
  • Caro has written one of the finest, best-researched and most analytically informative descriptions of our political and governmental processes to appear in a generation. Nicholas Von Hoffman, The Washington Post 
  • Caro's achievement is staggering. The most unlikely subjects--banking, ward politics, construction, traffic management, state financing, insurance companies, labor unions, bridge building--become alive and contemporary. It is cheap at the price and too short by half. A milestone in literary and publishing history. Donald R. Morris, The Houston Post
  • Irresistible reading. It is like one of the great Russian novels, overflowing with characters and incidents that all fit into a vast mosaic of plot and counterplot. Only this is no novel. This is a college education in power corruption. George McCue, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
  • Surely the greatest book ever written about a city. David Halberstam
  • A masterpiece of American reporting. It's more than the story of a tragic figure or the exploration of the unknown politics of our time. It's an elegantly written and enthralling work of art. Theodore H. White
  • The most absorbing, detailed, instructive, provocative book ever published about the making and raping of modern New York City and environs and the man who did it, about the hidden plumbing of New York City and State politics over the last half-century, about the force of personality and the nature of political power in a democracy. A monumental work, a political biography and political history of the first magnitude. Eliot Fremont-Smith, New York
  • Winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography
  • Winner of the 1975 Parkman Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caitlin McCoy | 2/16/2014

    " Much to textbook-y. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jimmy | 2/10/2014

    " Powerful elegy for New York's past, or unjust hatchet job on a man who, in the words of Eliot Spitzer, "got things done?" Either way, a classic book about governance and urban planning that should not be missed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Avigail | 2/9/2014

    " It took me three months to get through this epic biography, but I loved every minute of it. The best crash course you could ever get in 20th c. NYC history. Caro's portrait of Moses is nuanced--he certainly takes him to task for his arrogance and deafness to the public will, and is highly critical of his evasion of democratic processes. He does not lose sight, however, of Moses as a man and of Moses as a man who did succeed where others failed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 1/18/2014

    " good read, especially for Long Islanders. very long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Redmond | 1/15/2014

    " I took an entire college course on this book. Unbelievably educational. As a life long New Yorker it opened my eyes to things I had grown up taking for granted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick | 1/5/2014

    " Excellent. Long read, but a great read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nelsie Smith | 12/22/2013

    " If you like urban history, urban development, politics, or New York City, this is a great book. But it is Super Long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynthia Laird | 11/30/2013

    " I read this in college and it got me hooked on Caro. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 11/16/2013

    " Epic story of capital and control. Brutally overwritten but the weight of the story makes it alright. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Hurt | 8/31/2013

    " Wow! The author did a fantastic job with research and character analysis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 8/6/2013

    " The perfect book for a planner in NYC, given to me by my boss/professor. It's really, really long, but you will learn a ton about the history of New York in general and its infrastructure development in particular. Really good, but quite a commitment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 7/21/2013

    " With every 100 pages, I admire Robert Moses a little bit more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 6/1/2013

    " The best book ever written about American government. One of the few books I have ever read more than once. Truly great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 5/2/2013

    " Fascinating. A riveting portrait of a megalomaniac and the city he changed forever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 4/19/2013

    " This beast is my summer project... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John T. | 4/1/2013

    " Well-written, very dense, but insightful overview of Moses. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Topdop | 12/2/2012

    " An incredibly detailed look not only at Robert Moses' life but the lives of those around him and a vivid look at the history of New York and how Moses transformed it, for better or worse. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Schiff | 4/22/2012

    " Took me about two years to finish. It's hard to imagine a more thorough biography or piece of nonfiction. Some truly great scenes/images. A must for any New Yorker with a lot of patience. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 1/1/2012

    " Very interesting study of how power is accumulated and then lost. Robert Moses is not a well known figure, but he should be; he is the modern day Hadrian (sp?) and did it in the tough town of New York. Bloated, but still worth the read. VERY lengthy. Plan to spend some time reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen | 11/11/2011

    " Loved this!! The most suspenseful biography I've ever read. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ritch | 8/10/2011

    " The werewolf book I co-wrote with Bob Powers just came out, and I was in the mood for something without any werewolves in it. So, far- so good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rolin Bissell | 4/5/2011

    " Still great after nearly forty years. Having an interest in the history of New York helps one wade through the detail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 3/31/2011

    " A book so good that it makes me wish Goodreads offered a 21-star rating. Anyone who wants to know how American politics REALLY works should read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 3/28/2011

    " Okay, I've been working on this book for years. I love the storytelling, and I love the information and details Mr. Caro puts into his work. But there's JUST SO MUCH of it. Dense and complex, this is a book I keep trying to finish. Hopefully I will, because what I've managed to read is amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K.h.tracey | 3/6/2011

    " Loved this!! The most suspenseful biography I've ever read. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 2/21/2011

    " One of my first introductions to the power of good research. A fascinating look into the mind and life of a man who shaped the built environment of the state of New York like no other. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 david | 1/22/2011

    " The best non-fiction I've ever read. On so many levels, this book explains how and why New York City is what it is.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bradydale | 11/25/2010

    " The single best work of non-fiction I have ever read. For me, it's the standard by which I judge other biographies. Yes, it is very long, but Caro writes so well that every chapter goes by quickly. Your jaw will drop many times when you read about the the gall and megalomania of Robert Moses. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Justin | 10/29/2010

    " For Collin and Brendan...you are correct "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 9/2/2010

    " This is the man most responsible for the present day footprint of New York City; he designed the thruway and bridge system now in place and also was the force behind the New York World's fain in 1969. A ver long book but entertainingly written. "

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