Power Broker by Robert Caro – Summary & Analysis of Chapter 41

Part 7 – The Loss of Power

Chapter 41 – Rumours and the Report of Rumours

Highways were only one field of Moses’s activities. There was also housing and the associated slum clearance. A few perceptive people began to see something sinister in what was going on.

In the early 1950s, Reformers had heard rumours about Moses’s clearance sites. When the Reformers visited Moses’s clearance sites they saw the disaster that was the relocation programme.  In front of some of the brownstones, large garbage cans began to appear. This meant that many more people were living in these houses than before. Neighbourhood became more racially mixed and significantly poorer, and with poverty came social problems. Good neighbourhoods were becoming slums. A repository for all the people cleared out in the wake of the new highways.

By 1953, people began to be fully aware of what was going on. If people were being hounded out of their homes, they would move to other areas, increasing the size of the slums. They felt the people should be made aware of what was going on, but their main means of communication, the press, was not interested. They were reluctant to attack Moses.

The Reformers therefore decided to do the research themselves. Statistics were difficult to come by. Moses and his colleagues had manipulated them had hidden them well. Many volunteers visited the highway sites and saw the reality of the relocation programs. Many people had been moved to buildings that were mere shells. They saw the implications for the city. New slums were being created faster than the old ones were being developed. Backed up with the research into the true statistics and plans, the true nature of the relocation plans was revealed. The researchers expected prominent display of their report in the press, but Moses and his team suppressed this. False statistics were inserted into the report. The report was issued nine months after it had been completed, with the changes added by Moses which changed the entire argument of the report. Of all the city’s press, only the New York Post published the report. It was never mentioned in the press again.

However, a commission was set up in late 1954 to investigate the sales of $15M worth of real-estate to one of Moses’s preferred partners for $1M. On investigation it was found that far from being demolished, the apartments were being kept open and rented out. A network of collusion was uncovered where everybody involved in the project was getting rich, and this was only one of many contracts. A normal press investigation would have blazed this all over the city. But the press, still enamoured with Moses, kept his name out of it. Not one investigative reporter was put on the story. As late as 1956, the protests to the plans was still an underground movement. The legend of Moses would have to be tarnished before a real change could occur.

Analysis & Key Takeaways
  • Moses was able to control the press in order to suppress the story.
  • Corruption requires a network.
The Power Broker is a Pulitzer Prize Winner
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3
Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6
Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9
Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12
Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15
Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18
Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21
Chapter 22Chapter 23Chapter 24
Chapter 25Chapter 26Chapter 27
Chapter 28Chapter 29Chapter 30
Chapter 31Chapter 32Chapter 33
Chapter 35Chapter 36Chapter 37
Chapter 38Chapter 39Chapter 40
Chapter 41Chapter 42Chapter 43
Chapter 44Chapter 45Chapter 46
Chapter 47Chapter 48Chapter 49
Chapter 50

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