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Robert Caro’s recent interview at the Egg

December 7, 2011

For public authority wonks (and probably others) Robert Caro’s interview on Monday for the State Archive’s Program was terrific. Caro, the author of “The Power Broker,” “Robert Moses,” and “The Fall of New York” as well as three volumes chronicling LBJ (with a fourth expected), was interviewed by Harold Holzer, a celebrated Lincoln historian. Caro’s commitment to the Moses story, for which he received a Pulitzer, was his effort to understand the real operation of New York State government.  He described that, as a young Newsday reporter detailed to the State Capital, he sought to make sense of the governmental process, presupposing that it was the product of legislative and gubernatorial decisions. Soon, he came to realize that much of the real power resided in the unelected and little understood Moses. Caro’s book, now in its 39th printing, has become a mainstay of most college government courses. Despite the book’s ominous title, Caro, when asked how New York State would have been different but for Moses, hedged and said the answer was complicated.



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