Monday, December 03, 2012

Caro on Al Smith and the Other Guy

I've selected Robert A. Caro's  bio of Robert Moses* as my  audio gym read and from the size of the thing, it looks like it ought to last me well into the spring.  So far I'm lovin' it and I admit I was dazzled by his prose poem on the youth of Al Smith (I remember reading another wonderful account of Smith's beginnings some years ago, perhaps in William V. Shannon's The American Irish).  But I wonder: I was saying the other day that I was offput by Caro's over-the-top sanctificaton of the infamous Coke Stevenson.  Could it be that I know less about Smith and are thus more credulous?   This doesn't seem right, actually, although I can't think of a better reason.

*Titled "The Power Broker," and  may I add this to my list of grotesquely inappropriate titles?  It's ludicrous to call Moses a more broker; he was a source of power who exercised it with manic energy, gleefully and incessantly.  Had Moses heard that anyone had called him a mere broker, he likely would have  incinerated the culprit's home, made off with his women, and exiled his children wailing to the poorhouse.

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