Robert Caro's Response to Robert Moses' Response to Robert Caro's The Power Broker
One aspect of Robert Moses that my book attempts to portray is that of the smearer of reputations, the purveyor of baseless innuendo and outright falsehood, the wholesaler of defamation -- in a public official who, through a ruthless and awesome public relations machinery, practiced McCarthyism long before there was a McCarthy. I am not displeased that the Commissioner has furnished this additional up-to-date documentation of all this and would be pleased to let my book speak for itself were it not for his statements and attempts to drag others into the picture.
I cannot, for example, let pass his attempt to destroy his brother's reputation in death as he did in life. As my book documents, no fewer than six separate officials of the La Guardia administration are aware of how Robert Moses hounded Paul Moses, a brilliant, competent, respected engineer, out of public service and forced him down the road that lead him to live out the last thirty years of his life in the most abject and humiliating poverty.
As for the story of Robert Moses and his brother's inheritance, anyone can find the truth of what I wrote simply by examining the records and affidavits of the surrogate's court and New York county supreme court, the liber numbers of which can be found in the source notes of my book, page 1210. And I wish the Commissioner would stop quoting Al Smith, a unique, great and wonderful man, in an attempt to bolster his own broadscale billingsgate.
Mr. Moses asks, "What is a power broker?" If the Commissioner tells me which of those two words he doesn't understand, I will be glad to point it out to him in a dictionary. A "power broker" deals in power as a real estate broker deals in real estate -- and Robert Moses has been the supreme dealer in power in New York City and New York State for almost half a century.
It is slightly absurd (but typical of Robert Moses) to label as without documentation a book that has 83 solid pages of single-spaced, small-type notes and that is based on seven years of research, including 522 separate interviews.
Robert A. Caro
August 26, 1974
Of course, Robert A. Caro had his own response to Robert Moses' 23-page response to Caro's book. Thanks to the folks at Random House for passing this along . . .
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