Excerpt

The Day Robert Caro Grasped The Power of Robert Moses

The prize-winning biographer once thought of Robert Moses as just another government bureaucrat. Then, as he explains in a new audio-only book for Audible.com, all that changed.

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Two-time Pulitzer prize winner Robert Caro, author of monumental biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, has narrated an audio-only book for Audible.com entitled On Power, in which the legendary historian reflects on what drew him as a young journalist to study political power and what his half century of reporting on New York City urban planner Robert Moses and President Lyndon Johnson have taught him about the inner workings of government and democracy.

Adapted by the author from two recent speeches and filled with thoughtful lessons and personal moments, On Power goes behind the scenes in the author's decades-long quest to understand how power works, often in ways he could have never imagined.

As he puts it, explaining his theme, "Why political power? Because it shapes all of our lives. It shapes your life in ways that you might never think about. Every time a young man goes to college on a federal education bill passed by Lyndon Johnson, that's political power. And so is a young man dying in Vietnam. Every time an elderly person is able to afford an MRI, that's Medicare. That's political power. It affects your life in all sorts of ways. My books are an attempt to explain this power ... Because the more America understands about political power, the better informed our votes will be, and then, hopefully, the better our democracy should be."

In this excerpt, he describes the moment he first understood just how vast was the power wielded by Robert Moses.