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"The Power Broker" by Robert Caro.

Nobody has ever captured the nature of power on an individual level to the depth and breadth that Caro did on this book. (except perhaps his epic treatment of Lyndon Johnson)

Over something like 1,100 pages you get to track the career of an aspiring reformer as he transitions to skilled and trusted government official, to someone who manages to grow to the point that he is more powerful than the Governor and Mayor of New York during NY's economic peak -- despite never having been elected to anything. Then you get to witness his decline and ultimate fall.

This is probably the best biography ever written. It may take you six months to read, but its time well spent.




I adore this book. It also took me 6 months to read. I think about it often while wandering around the city, imagining the areas before and after Moses' steel-and-concrete hand, imagining the old neighborhoods, trying to envision what could be next, what could have been, what could be.

Lately I've been reading Foucault and I find that many pieces of The Power Broker are incredible examples of Foucault's post-modern/post-structuralist theory of power: power relations as a sort-of amorphous "lines of force" that move between people through society, occasionally emergent as structural domination/power, rather than as some sort of antagonistic relationship between rulers and ruled. This conception of power makes sense when you consider Moses operating at an intersection between (and attempting to leverage) many different "fields" of powers: government politicians, wealthy private estates, union high-ups, the news media, etc.


Where would you suggest someone begin with Foucault?


I started with History of Sexuality because the topic interested me most. I think Discipline and Punish is the canonical starting point.


I just ordered this book from Amazon a few days ago after constantly reading recommendations to read it. I am looking forward to cracking it open.




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