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The Power Broker


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A riveting, monumental classic by 'the greatest political biographer of our times' (Sunday Times)

About the Author

Robert A. Caro has been described as 'the greatest political biographer of our times' (Sunday Times) and 'a world authority on the nature of power and how to use it' (Guardian). Born in 1935, he graduated from Princeton University, later became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and was an investigative reporter for Newsday for six years. The Power Broker was his first book, taking him seven years to research and write, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. With his subsequent books, which comprise a multi-volume work, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, he has become one of the most lauded writers of his generation. The first two volumes - The Path to Power and Means of Ascent - each won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the third - Master of the Senate - won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. On publication of the most recent volume - The Passage of Power - in 2012, The Years of Lyndon Johnson was hailed as 'the greatest biography of our era' (The Times). In addition, Robert Caro has also been awarded virtually every other major literary honor, including the Francis Parkman Prize, given by the Society of American Historians to the book that best 'exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist', the Gold Medal in Biography from the National Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, the highest award in the humanities given in the United States. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, an historian and writer.


"Simply one of the best non-fiction books in English of the past 40 years ... There has probably never been a better dissection of political power ... From the first page ... you know that you are in the hands of a master ... riveting ... superb ... not just a stunning portrait of perhaps the most influential builder in world history ... but an object lesson in the dangers of power" -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times *
"One of the great biographies of all time ... [by] one of the great reporters of our time ... and probably the greatest biographer. He is also an extraordinary writer. After reading page 136 of his book The Power Broker, I gasped and read it again, then again. This, I thought, is how it should be done ... said to be one of the greatest nonfiction works ever written ... Every MP, wonk and would-be wonk in Westminster has read [Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson], because they think it is the greatest insight into power ever written. They're nearly right: it's the second greatest after The Power Broker" -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times *
"I think about Robert Caro and reading The Power Broker back when I was 22 years old and just being mesmerized, and I'm sure it helped to shape how I think about politics" -- Barack Obama
"This is irresistibly readable, an outright masterpiece and unparalleled insight into how power works and perhaps the greatest portrait ever of a world city" -- David Sexton * Evening Standard *
"A stupendous achievement ... Caro's style is gripping, indeed hypnotic, and he squeezes every ounce of drama from his remarkable story ... Can a democracy combine visionary leadership with effective checks and balances to contain the misuse of power? No book illustrates this fundamental dilemma of democracy better than The Power Broker ... Indeed, no student of government can regard his education as complete until he has read it" -- Vernon Bogdanor * Independent *
"A truly exceptional achievement ... Important, awesome, compelling ... extraordinary on many levels and certain to endure" * Washington Post *
"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" * Baltimore Evening Sun *
"Surely the greatest book ever written about a city" -- David Halberstam
"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" * St. Louis Post-Dispatch *
"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" * New York *
"A triumph, brilliant and totally fascinating. A majestic, even Shakespearean, drama about the interplay of power and personality" -- Justin Kaplan
"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" * Washington Post *
"Caro's achievement is staggering ... A milestone in literary and publishing history" * Houston Post *
"An extraordinary study of the workings of power, individually, institutionally, politically, and economically" * Wall Street Journal *
"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
"In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort" * The New York Times Book Review *
"The story of how Robert Moses made and broke people and places is astonishing. It comes so highly recommended that it is unignorable" -- Jeremy Paxman * Observer *
"Remarkable ... we learn as much about the intoxication and addiction of power as we do about the bureaucratic titan whose imprint on New York bears comparison with his only modern equivalent, the smasher and rebuilder of Paris, Baron Haussmann ... [with] his detailed reporting and rhythmic prose, his great acuity for understanding and describing the nuances of politics and power ... [Robert Caro] has no contemporary rivals" -- John R MacArthur * Spectator *
"This superb life of city planner Robert Moses is also an epic study of power that helped shape Obama's politics" * Sunday Times *
"An epic, meticulously detailed study of power in general: how it's acquired, how it's used to change history, how it ultimately corrupts those who get it ... Masterfully, Caro shows how Moses transformed New York in ways both progressive and backward, benign and cruel ... as an account of how power and ambition shape the urban environment, The Power Broker has yet to be beaten" -- Oliver Burkeman * Guardian *
"Monumental ... extraordinary ... The writing never flags. The detail is never irrelevant. The sheer relentlessness has a mesmeric quality. The character sketches ... are wonderful ... the way in which he shows how power is attained and how it can corrupt [is] fascinating ... This book has helped change the way history is written" -- Daniel Finkelstein * The Times *
"Even if you've never heard of Moses, the freshness of Caro's prose makes this an exhilarating study in power" * Sunday Times *
"There has never been a better book about the art of politics, nor a more riveting study of what power does to an individual" -- Dominic Sandbrook * BBC History Magazine *
"Its ambition, which is vast, matches the scale of vision of its subject... Aside from being a considerable work of biography, The Power Broker is a near-peerless work of narrative nonfiction. Caro's style is born of his obsessive attention to detail: he specialises in the rapid-fire accumulation of crushing facts, and the well-placed one-sentence paragraph that knocks you out like a sucker-punch... There are many moments of greatness in this brilliant book." -- Karl Whitney * Irish Times *

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