Filmed at Church House on 27th October 2015.
Every industry has its guru. And when it comes to the dark arts of political statecraft, the American biographer Robert Caro is the mentor politicians turn to for guidance. His biography of President Lyndon B. Johnson has been described as ‘the greatest insight into power ever written’. Caro is revered by presidents and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, his fans include Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Here in Britain, his life of LBJ is George Osborne’s favourite political work and has been read by every MP and wonk in Westminster.
On October 27, Robert Caro made a rare appearance in London on the Intelligence Squared stage. He was joined by William Hague, the former foreign secretary and leader of the Conservative party, and himself an acclaimed political biographer. Hague quizzed Caro on the nature of political power. How is it built and preserved? Where does true political power lie? With our elected representatives, or shady figures behind the scenes? One of the most powerful operators ever, who never entered public office, is Robert Moses, the man who built modern New York City. Moses is the subject of Caro’s Pulitzer-winning 1974 biography ‘The Power Broker’, now published in Britain for the first time. Described as ‘a majestic, even Shakespearean, drama about the interplay of power and personality’, the book offers unparalleled insight into the use and misuse of power.