Jack Newfield and Paul du Brul, The Permanent Government: Who Really Runs New York (The Pilgrim Press)
Originally published in 1977 under the title The Abuse of Power
Rarely does a short form piece of journalism allow for an in-depth analysis of a major economic crisis, such as the one that rocked New York City in the 1970s. This was precisely the reason why Jack Newfield and Paul du Brul, the former a Village Voice writer for 24 years and the latter a writer and political consultant, undertook the daunting task of researching the city's political structure specifically for a book format.
The Permanent Government is the well-crafted result from this inquisitive duo's four-year investigation. Their claim that an elite group of un-elected power brokers control the political and economic power of New York City is more than sufficiently corroborated by carefully analysis of statistics and census data.
Although Newfield and Du Brul rely heavily on financial reports for their contention that a "permanent government" existed during this time, the authors' fresh subjective interpretations and injection of colorful quotations from major political players in the city invigorate their investigation and make for a compelling read.
Interestingly, the authors note it is important to appreciate that their liberal bent (which they openly acknowledge) was not intended as a slight against the city. Rather, they contend "this book was written as an act of gratitude and loyalty to New York City, by two native sons."
Ralph Nader heralded the authors in the book's introduction: "Newfield and du Brul, writing in the noble tradition of Lincoln Steffens, have composed a textbook for community patriotism, as the remedy to invisible oligarchy." Moreover, the publishing of The Permanent Government solidified Newfield's reputation as one of the founders of the "New Journalism" movement, while du Brul was heralded for his insight after lobbying for legislation — now law — to ban the use of lead-based paint in New York City apartments.
An in-depth interview with Jack Newfield about his career in investigative journalism
Jack Newfield’s claim that a modern-day “permanent government” still exists as discussed in an article originally published in Newsday on April 7, 2002