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“Well, if you look at a picture of a place, you can normally get a sense of what it’s like. But hopefully what books do, or what thinking does, is to show you what that place is like underneath. The Power Broker is the definitive history of how, in modern America, cities get built, power gets thrown around, neighbourhoods are overpowered by developers and politicians. It’s gigantic and it’s a biography, but it reads like the most epic novel of building and money and power. It’s by Robert Caro, who is a master biographer; he went on to write a definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. And it’s about Robert Moses, the most influential builder and urban planner in the city in the middle of the century. He just decided he was going to do things, change the shape of the land and build a ton of roads and bridges. Whatever you see in the city that is the city—the shape of the city, the body of it—was his doing.” Read more...
The best books on New York City
Ben Greenman, Biographer