However, Caro's tremendous, artfully compiled detail, based on dozens of interviews and exhaustive source-hunting, ensure...

THE POWER BROKER

ROBERT MOSES AND THE FALL OF NEW YORK

At the height of his power Robert Moses was emperor of nearly all New York State public works—bridges, highways, housing, parks, electrical power, the World's Fair and the United Nations—without ever holding elected office.

In his chairmanship of twelve agencies from 1924 to 1968, Moses spent at least 27 billion dollars with immense inefficiency, utter disregard for opponents and maximum reward for friendly banks, contractors and political allies. Caro richly documents his arrogance and vindictiveness, exemplified by his penchant for bulldozing unrelocated residents' homes. At the same time, Caro's fascination with Moses, a prerequisite for writing this 1296-page biography, produces a Last Hurrah undertone right up to Moses' old age: "forgotten to live out his years in bitterness and rage." Moses reached power in a decade when Mussolini's corporatism was praised by such venerable sources as the AFL and the New Republic; and along with his mammoth public spending and chronic lying, Moses replicated tire Fascists' disregard for legality and due process, in a drive for complete personal command. Caro tends to treat Moses' history too personally, without explaining that Moses' World War I civil service reform "idealism" and his later push for highways, conservation and public works expansion reflected general leitmotifs of those political periods. The book views Nelson Rockefeller's 1968 ouster of Moses as a clash of temperaments, for example, without asking whether the Governor's transportation and urban redevelopment reorganization schemes might not have required a new, equally ruthless but lower-profiled species of administrator. 

However, Caro's tremendous, artfully compiled detail, based on dozens of interviews and exhaustive source-hunting, ensure that "The Power Broker" will be acclaimed as the definitive monument to Moses, as well as a key study of the web of political figures connected with, and against, Moses' career.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 1974

ISBN: 0394480767

Page Count: 1352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1974

Did you like this book?

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more