“People talk a lot about the ’60s,” Mr. Caro said, “but they don’t really realize what they are.”
—The New York Times​

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Known for his multivolume biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, Mr. Caro helped inspire a citywide cultural festival organized by Carnegie Hall.

“It’s your job to make the reader feel the desperation.”
—Robert Caro

via The Paris Review


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  In his Columbus Circle office, 2013. Since 1976, Robert Caro has devoted himself to The Years of Lyndon Johnson, a landmark study of the thirty-sixth president of the United States. The fifth and final volume, now underway, will presumably cover the 1964 election, the passage of the Vo.....

The ’60s: The Years that Changed America at Carnegie Hall

Inspired by Robert A. Caro

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"As the highway progressed, Moses’s bulldozing reputation, meanwhile, cemented itself, in ways both big and small. Here’s Robert A. Caro in his legendary book THE POWER BROKER, quoting a The New York Times reporter [Joseph Ingraham] who saw one incident with Moses up close at an opening of a section of the highway:

“It was raining and we had to go to some kind of tent. Some little old character—just a minor functionary in government—was there and Moses said to me, ‘Wait’ll you see what I do to this guy.’ He went over and grabbed him and almost literally picked him up by the scruff of the neck and shook him. It was very embarrassing. I said, ‘What did he do?’ He said, ‘He hasn’t done anything yet, but I just wanted to head him off.’”

December 15, 1973, was a chilly and cloudy day in New York City. The city’s fortunes had already begun to take a downturn. A single dump truck, overloaded with more than nine tons of asphalt, rumbled down the old elevated West Side Highway, which promptly collapsed. And in a moment of almost hilar...

In the following excerpts in Playbill, Robert A. Caro discusses what makes the 1960s relevant and important topic of exploration for audiences today.

(Posted by the author's publisher)

Together with Carnegie Hall, Caro looks back at that turbulent decade via a citywide festival, running through March 24.

"I’m not doing a section that’s chronological. I’m writing about the relationship between Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy. Kennedy plays such a large role in this volume that it’s almost as if he’s the protagonist. They hated each other. That becomes a very interesting thing in this book because a surprising amount of what Johnson did was in reaction to what he thought Bobby Kennedy would do. So, you asked where I am now: I’m writing about 1965 and 1966."
Robert A. Caro in The New York Review of Books

Many biographers working on a long project complain that their subject has eaten up their life. Did that happen to you? Robert Caro: No. Because I don’t really regard my books as biographies. I’ve never had the slightest interest in writing a book to tell the life of a great man. I started The P...

"Jeremy Geffen [senior director and adviser of artistic programming at Carnegie Hall] and his team began planning the festival more than two years ago when they approached Robert A. Caro, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian. He proposed the ‘60s because 'it’s the decade that everybody thinks they know but they don’t really understand,' Geffen recalls."

More than 30 cultural institutions, theater groups, museums and more are all staging exhibits as part of The '60s: The Years That Changed America.

The ’60s: The Years that Changed America at Carnegie Hall

Inspired by Robert A. Caro

It was a time of turmoil. It was a time of change. A nation looked inward, reevaluating what it was and what it hoped to be. Half a century later, the cultural and social upheavals of the 1960s in the US and abroad inform nearly all aspects of our lives. For the first time, Carnegie Hall has looked to a figure outside the music world—Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert A. Caro, famed biograp...her of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson—for inspiration in creating a festival, turning our attention to this singular decade.

Read more here:…/Season-Highlights/The-60s

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“'Moses was not making even a pretense of creating new homes for the families displaced,' Robert A. Caro wrote in THE POWER BROKER, the Pulitzer-winning biography of the planning czar’s life and career."
-- The New York Times

More than 7,000 poor families and 800 businesses were displaced to make way for the performing arts campus and other related projects.

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One thing to be glad about: Robert Caro is eighty-two today, and it’s a fine excuse to spend the day thinking about Robert Caro, who’s easily a candidate for least stupid person in America. Caro is a lot of things: the…

Please join us in wishing Robert A. Caro a happy birthday today.

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Vintage Books & Anchor Books

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Allan Caro was born in New York City on this day in 1935.

“If the end doesn't justify the means, what does?”
—Robert Moses... quoted in THE POWER BROKER: ROBERT MOSES AND THE FALL OF NEW YORK by Robert A. Caro

One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, THE POWER BROKER tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city’s politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today. In revealing how Moses did it–how he developed his public authorities into a political machine that was virtually a fourth branch of government, one that could bring to their knees Governors and Mayors (from La Guardia to Lindsay) by mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, even the press and the Church, into an irresistible economic force–Robert Caro reveals how power works in all the cities of the United States. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He personally conceived and completed public works costing 27 billion dollars–the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever having been elected to office, he dominated the men who were–even his most bitter enemy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could not control him–until he finally encountered, in Nelson Rockefeller, the only man whose power (and ruthlessness in wielding it) equalled his own. READ an excerpt here:…/the-power-broker-by-r…/

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"Everyone should read Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power, which makes the point that, to accumulate power, politicians conceal their real agendas — a useful lesson in politics ahead of the ANC’s 54th national conference."
David Maynier

We questions David Maynier, MP and DA shadow minister of finance

Lisa Lucas, director of the National Book Foundation, with Robert Caro, who last year won the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award, in his office to make a video explaining what the award means to him.

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Biographers International Organization Announces the Robert and Ina Caro Research/Travel Fellowship

In honor of the work of Robert and Ina Caro, Biographers International Organization has set up an annual research and travel fellowship. BIO members with a work in progress can apply to receive funding for research trips to archives or to important settings in their subject’s lives. This fellowship is a reflection of BIO’s ongoing commitment to support authors in writing beauti...fully contextualized and tenaciously researched biographies.

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Sharing a passion for biography!

"But although the cliché says that power always corrupts, what is seldom said, but what is equally true, is that power always reveals."

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Vintage Books & Anchor Books

Winner of 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award...

"But although the cliché says that power always corrupts, what is seldom said, but what is equally true, is... that power always reveals."

Book Four of Robert A. Caro’s monumental THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON displays all the narrative energy and illuminating insight that led the Times of London to acclaim it as “one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age. A masterpiece.” THE PASSAGE OF POWER follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career—1958 to1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark. READ an excerpt here:…/the-passage-of-power-b…/

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“When I wrote my book on Robert Moses, I didn’t really think of it as a biography of Robert Moses. I thought of it as a study in urban power, power in cities, not the power that we learn about in textbooks in high school or college, but the real, raw native realities of what power really is in cities. After that I wanted to try to do national power, and I picked Lyndon Johnson.”

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Caro opened his talk on presidential responsibility and civil rights with a joke about a drunk rabbi. Roth, not in attendance, would have approved.

"Robert Caro, one of America's greatest literary lions, gave a lecture about his work at the Newark Public Library, the downtown marble and wood-paneled shrine of the city's intellectual life, as part of an annual lecture series named after the equally revered author Philip Roth, a proud native son of Newark."

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Robert Caro, one of America's greatest literary lions, gave a lecture about his work at the Newark Public Library, the downtown marble and wood-paneled shrine of the city's intellectual...

The New York Times Book Review: What’s the last great book you read?

Roz Chast: “The Power Broker,” by Robert Caro. Fascinating history of Robert Moses and how he shaped New York City. It’s also about politics and how power is amassed and urban planning and engineering and New York City in the ’20s through the ’70s.

(Posted by the author's publisher)

The author of, most recently, “Going Into Town,” enjoys listening to audiobooks while working on a craft project like embroidering: “My idea of a really good time.”