THE ABUSE OF POWER: The Permanent Government and the Fall of New York by Jack & Paul Dubrul Newfield
Kirkus Star

THE ABUSE OF POWER: The Permanent Government and the Fall of New York

Email this review


The ""official"" history of New York's humiliation that Newfield and Dubrul ascribe to the press section of the city's collusive ""permanent government"" has been challenged previously by accounts of the banking and realty machinations behind the fiscal crisis (preeminently in The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities). That said, Village Voice editor Newfield and city planner Dubrul, both graduates of the no-longer-free City University, have written an utterly absorbing book which explains--to the still-dazed commuter on the deteriorating subways, to the mortgage seeker in one of New York's many ""red-lined"" neighborhoods, and to laid off municipal workers--exactly how the formal indenturing of the city to Big Mac and the EFC was accomplished. They also argue, with withering effect, against the notion that the city erred by ""doing too much for its citizens""--an invidious myth which is promoting more of the belt-tightening cutbacks that can only accelerate the city's doom. Though it is not a revelatory idea--nor do they present it as such--they level their guns at the scarcely-visible bipartisan nonelected ruling Élite of the New York, which long ago conceived its own ""longterm private master plan"" for the city. It was a master plan that gave us the unrented offices of the World Trade Center but left the South Bronx to rot and burn, a plan conceived by people for whom ""planned shrinkage"" was a consummation devoutly to be wished. Can the city be regenerated? ""Sisyphus is one of our political heroes,"" say the authors of this, the most scathing J'Accuse yet to come out of the New York dÉbacle--with implications for the entire blighted Northeast sector.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1977
Publisher: Viking