Robert Caro: biographies of LBJ and Robert Moses

Anne Brown…

Oh pulleeze, if you want to read some painful yet beautifully written political biographies, read Robert Caro’s lifework (4 volumes to date) on LBJ. I only got through his 1200 pp. biography about Robert Moses, “Master Planner of NYC,” which made me want to scream. I keep starting LBJ, but he’s even crazier than Robert Moses, and I have to fling the book down screaming.…

LBJ was so awful as a youth, growing up, I was just repelled by his behavior, and that was BEFORE he was the ultimate politician.

If you’re at all interested in NYC, read Caro’s book about Robert Moses…Like so many, he started out as an idealist and ended up as the most entitled, corrupt government official imaginable. He’d also lost any respect for the poor people—for EVERYONE, for that matter. The only thing that stopped him was Nelson Rockefeller.

In the US, it’s very common for parents to say to kids, “Who do you think I am, Mrs. (if you’re the mom)/John D. Rockefeller?” Decades after his death, he’s still the ultimate symbol of unbridled greed and capitalism.

His kids were much more service and philanthropically oriented. Because Nelson was governor, had a lot of charisma, and was Moses’ equal on every level, there was nothing Moses could get on him to bring him down. He couldn’t bribe him, wreck his property, blackmail him, etc. Oh, it was a wonderful moment in the book when he took Moses down.

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