I'm currently reading Robert Caro's The Power Broker, an edifice of New York City and State history. It's about the many ways that Robert Moses exercised and abused his power within state government, despite never being elected.
At over 1,000 pages, it is quite long. So far I've read 300 pages. Caro describes the life of Moses as a "harsh alchemy," which transformed him from a young man of idealistic notions about government into a middle-aged man with no compunction about doing whatever he felt was necessary to achieve his objectives. I found the phrase to be poetic and painful, and perhaps an apt description of the journey we all must make through life.
Note to Robert Caro: My apologies for destroying your intellectual labors by the careless theft of the phrase "harsh alchemy." Send my your address and I'll send you a quarter.
Although I found the book the old-fashioned way--at a physical library--hopefully someday people will find it in Google Book Search, and go to their library or buy it online. That would enrich themselves, Mr. Caro, and his publisher.