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Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York Hardcover – September 7, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1ST edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400060176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400060177
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Renowned architecture critic Goldberger (Above New York) has undertaken the Herculean task of describing the three years of proposals, counterproposals, chaos and compromise that resulted in a plan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Unlike many post-9/11 books, this careful, detailed analysis is sure to remain a valuable reference work for future generations, who will wonder how the redevelopment took the shape it did. Goldberger provides a blow-by-blow, yet always readable, account of the myriad interest groups, meetings, press conferences, backroom negotiations and public forums that led to the selection of a plan for the site and designs for the Freedom Tower and memorial, "Reflecting Absence." While displaying a deep understanding of history, urban planning, human psychology and power politics, Goldberger remains a largely neutral reporter of events. At the end, however, he mourns the lost opportunity to diverge from New York's traditionally commercial approach to real estate development. He concludes, "What played out through 2002 and 2003 was the use of architecture for political ends, not the use of politics for architectural ends—that is the key moral of the story.... Idealism met cynicism at Ground Zero, and so far they have battled to a draw."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As we mark the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the future of the 16 acres known as Ground Zero remains a subject of intense debate. Recognizing that the attempt to both memorialize those who perished and bring life back to Lower Manhattan is a historic challenge deserving of careful documentation and analysis, Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic currently at the New Yorker, offers just that in this avidly detailed account of the messy process by which government officials, developers, architects, family members of the victims of 9/11, and community activists struggled through grueling public hearings to formulate and select a master plan. Fluent in the complicated aesthetic, political, and financial issues involved, keenly attuned to the deep emotions aroused, incisive in his profiling of major players, and refreshingly candid in elucidating the failings of the original World Trade Center (for more on this, see City in the Sky [BKL N 1 03]), Goldberger asks, Can a powerful and realizable vision emerge from so much wrangling and compromise? Stay tuned. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joong Won Lee on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
What's so great about this book?

Is it because the book carefully analyzes

pros and cons on the history of the area?

Is it because the book brings alive the political

games of Port Authority and LMDC?

Is it because the book broadcasts the competition

of world-class architects?

Is it because the book records the behind scenes

of super architects' dirty cat fight?

Is it because the eye of the book is not only from

top-down, but also bottom-up?

Is it because the book tells what the role of developer is in NY?

Well, the book surely answers all of above-mentioned questions. But the real drama of the book is in what the New Yorkers did together to make this site memorable and meaningful (both symbolically and practically); a strong testimony to the victorious civic life against the destructive terrorists attacks.

Paul Goldberger bites that drama with such tenacity and rigor that it's really difficult to put down the book once in hands. The book actually mentions that NY had to wait several months before speaking of rebuilding because nobody dared to speak when the scars of terrorism was just around the corner. What a tragic yet promising story!

The heart of the matter is that in the turmoil of rebuilding energy arises a revelation how a great contemporary city -such as New York- claims it's identity. It's a city of ideas. It's a city of debates. It's a city of interactions, and it's a city of generating hope from the deepest despair of human affairs. "It's a city of Victors, not Victims"

I would like to believe that Goldberger, as a New Yorker, simply could not resist speaking of what he had witnessed. The book is mind bothering, yet, heart beating read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Tenenbaum VINE VOICE on July 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who would have expected from Paul Goldberger to produce such a restraint in personal opinion and - instead - factual, informative, surprisingly objective, and detailed history of the Ground Zero's struggle to rebuild the WTC in NYC? It is a story involving distribution of billions of dollars by those having executive power (combined with exemption from NY City building code) giving the politicians ("Emperor" Pataki, the Director of LMDC Roland Betts - a close friend and business partner of President George W. Bush, ...) opportunities to establish arbitrary restrictions and allowances regardless of the cost and usefulness, to arbitrarily select the participants of design process regardless of their merit, ability, capacity, and a public interest, etc. They created (initiated and developed) opportunities for favored participants in the design process to gain from their political and not entirely appropriate, but self-serving decisions, which - at the end - bit them, after confronted by a reality check, which exposed their selfishness and ignorance.
Supplementing illustrations are in "Imagining Ground Zero" - ISBN: 0847826570.
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More About the Author

Paul Goldberger

Paul Goldberger is the Architecture Critic for The New Yorker, where since 1997 he has written the magazine's celebrated "Sky Line" column. He also holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in New York City. He was formerly Dean of the Parsons school of design, a division of The New School. He began his career at The New York Times, where in 1984 his architecture criticism was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, the highest award in journalism.

He is the author of several books, most recently "Why Architecture Matters," published by Yale University Press in 2009 and "Building Up and Tearing Down: Reflections on the Age of Architecture," published by Monacelli Press, also in 2009. In 2008 he published Beyond the Dunes: A Portrait of the Hamptons, which he produced in association with the photographer Jake Rajs. His chronicle of the process of rebuilding Ground Zero, entitled UP FROM ZERO: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York was published by Random House in the fall of 2004, and brought out in a new, updated paperback edition in 2005. UP FROM ZERO was named one of The New York Times Notable Books for 2004. Paul Goldberger has also written "The City Observed: New York," "The Skyscraper," "On the Rise: Architecture and Design in a Post-Modern Age," "Above New York," and "The World Trade Center Remembered."

He lectures widely around the country on the subject of architecture, design, historic preservation and cities, and he has taught at both the Yale School of Architecture and the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley in addition to The New School. His writing has received numerous awards in addition to the Pulitzer, including the President's Medal of the Municipal Art Society of New York, the medal of the American Institute of Architects and the Medal of Honor of the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, awarded in recognition of what the Foundation called "the nation's most balanced, penetrating and poetic analyses of architecture and design." In May 1996, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani presented him with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's Preservation Achievement Award in recognition of the impact of his writing on historic preservation in New York. In 1993, he was named a Literary Lion, the New York Public Library's tribute to distinguished writers. In 2007, he was presented with the Ed Bacon Foundation's Award for Professional Excellence, named in honor of Philadelphia's legendary planner.

He has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Pratt Institute, the University of Miami, Kenyon College, the College of Creative Studies and the New York School of Interior Design for his work as a critic and cultural commentator on design. He appears frequently on film and television to discuss art, architecture, and cities, and is now at work on a program on the architect Benjamin Latrobe for PBS. He has also served as a special consultant and advisor on architecture and planning matters to several major cultural and educational institutions, including the Morgan Library in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, the New York Public Library and Cornell and Harvard universities. He serves as special advisor to the jury for the Richard A. Driehaus Prize, a $200,000 prize awarded annually for traditional architecture and urbanism. He is a graduate of Yale University, and is a trustee of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C.; the Forum for Urban Design, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. He is married to Susan Solomon, and they are the parents of three sons: Adam, a composer for film and television in Los Angeles; Ben, journalist who is now the Chicago Editor of the Huffington Post, and Alex, recently graduated from Yale and now on the staff of the sports department at NBC. He resides in New York City and in East Hampton, New York.

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