I recently finished reading Robert Caro's amazing biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker. Like Caro's other political biographies, The Power Broker is required reading for anyone wanting to understand American government and the uses (and misuses) of power.
Robert Moses was a civil servant, someone never elected to any office, but he somehow managed to build an empire within the bureaucracy of New York State and New York City. In his years in power, Moses built an amazing array of public works. But Moses had a dark side as well: an obsession with power and a habit of abusing that power to take revenge on anyone who crossed him.
The Power Broker is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand how the different kinds of power in American life--federal, state, and local--interact and how one man was able to manipulate those systems to stay in power for more than four decades.
The fourth and final volume of Caro's epic biography of Lyndon B. Johnson is due out next year. Entitled The Passage of Power, the new book is due to be released on May 1, 2012.