What Did Robert Moses Think of 'The Power Broker'?

Bridge and Tunnel Club has published the full 23-page typed, double-spaced letter that Robert Moses wrote in response to Robert Caro's biography.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that Moses wasn't particularly fond of his portrayal in the Pulitzer prize winning book, The Power Broker. And as you may have guessed, he doesn't hold back in his response to a book "full of mistakes, unsupported charges, nasty, baseless personalities and random haymakers thrown at just about everybody in public life." Moses refutes "personal, nasty, false, venomous and vindictive canards" portrayed in the book (such as his supposed affair with Ruth Pratt) and suggests that third parties "look at the record" as he disputes charges about his professional failings.

"I invite no prolonged controversy with the likes of Caro and his publishers," Moses writes on page 3. "This comment is not meant to spark controversy. It aims to make one statement which will answer ligitimate inquiries. If there were the slightest vestige of truth in the random charge that poor, halpless, displaced persons met ruthless public works dictators who sadistically scattered them to the worst rookerires, why do not Caro and his publisher offer some plausible evidence? Ninety-eight percent of the ghetto folks we moved were given immeasurably better living places at unprecedented cost. Usually a month after the last relocation not a letter of complaint was received."

Here's another gem from page 5-6:

"One can not help being amused by my friends among the media who shout for rails and inveigh against rubber but admit that they live in the suburbs and that their wives are absolutely dependent on motor cars. We live in a motorized civilization."

Full Story: Robert Moses' Response to Robert Caro's The Power Broker



The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Moses Embittered

They say that Robert Moses was very embittered during his final years. He had lost all of his power: after decades of heading large numbers of state agencies, he was reduced to being a "consultant" to the MTA, who was generally ignored. In addition, his approach had lost all credibility: after being held up as an example of what should be done by city planning professors of the 1940s and 1950s, he was used as an example of exactly what should be avoided by city planning professors of the 1970s. He was always aggressive and nasty in his responses to critics, so it is not surprising that he became even nastier.

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