Review: Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City (Nobrow)

Another one of a kind release from Nobrow, Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City, tells the story of New York architect and city planner Robert Moses looking at how he shaped the New York skyline and landscape of the city as a while.

Publisher: Nobrow
Writer: Pierre Christin
Artist: Olivier Balez
Price: £12.99 from

Told against a backdrop of social development and political change Moses is a constant force who manages to continue is work during the tenures of 5 mayors, 6 governors and 7 presidents, shaping the landscapes of one the worlds most unique cities. And it’s all big scale work from the Hudson bridge to parks, the beach and even the highways (which is even more surprising seeing as Moses didn’t drive).

Moses comes across as a thoughtful yet highly motivated character, a stickler for detail and a man with a singular vision that wouldn’t accept no for an answer. The story is a dreamy and lilting tale that lacks any great dramatic peaks and troughs but instead feels like a guide book to his greatest achievements that sees the city grow and evolve as he does.

Translated from an original French book, Pierre Christin and Olivier Balez have crafted a truly mesmerising book with Balez’s rendering of city landscapes exquisite and his characterisation evoking thoughts of an art deco Darwyn Cooke – including some sublime muted colouring that evolves through the periods of the book going from an almost sepia at the start to a warmer palette at the end. This is mixed in with a very classical sense of design that evokes memories of vintage text books with its infographics and maps and its immaculate portraits of historical figures.

As with so many Nobrow books this is a title which you never knew you wanted to read and so may be a difficult sell to those not already brainwashed into the Nobrow way (i.e. everything they make is good, so of course this one is too!). However for those in the know this another highly compelling and truly unique story that informs every bit as much as it entertains and although it doesn’t have a blockbuster story that makes you come back for more it is detailed and delicately told so you find yourself revisiting and re-reading it time again allowing the story to soak into your consciousness as you study the gorgeous artwork and locations. But be warned it will also make you want to book your flights to the Big Apple ASAP!