Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $4.79 shipping
+ Free Shipping
A Burglar's Guide to the City Paperback – April 5, 2016
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
An Amazon Best Book of April 2016: Geoff Manaugh has written a caper of a book. On one hand, he presents a 2,000-year history of break-ins, heists, and break-outs--a litany of unlikely, bent geniuses and their extraordinary efforts in the service of subverting and outwitting security, their energy often exceeding the requirements of straight-world success. On another, Manaugh draws on the real-world experience and acumen of criminals and security experts alike--as well as his own esoteric architectural sensibility, as seen in his fantastic BLDGBLOG--analyzing structures from the perspectives of would-be breakers-and-enterers--those possessed of a sort of spatial disorder that prevents them from using architecture like the rest of us--and those who would keep them out. Unexpected and engrossing, A Burglar’s Guide to the City will change the way you look at buildings.--Jon Foro
“This is a marvelous wonder-room of a thing, an intricate, deeply researched, and brilliantly written mad scientist’s tour of crime and how it’s bound to the world we’ve built. Revealing, spectacular, and riveting.” ―Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and The Planetary Omnibus
“This burglar’s guide isn’t for ordinary smash and grab burglars, it’s for the rest of us―who like to steal in, steal out, and get away with glorious dreams. A spectacularly fun read.” ―Robert Krulwich, co-host of Radiolab
“Murphy’s Law―anything that can go wrong will go wrong―is especially true for architecture. Geoff Manaugh’s liaisons with burglars and bank robbers reveal unexplored niches and loopholes in our cities, and through the eyes of urban hackers we find new possibilities for reinterpreting the built environment. A Burglar’s Guide to the City shows that architecture is too important to leave to just the architects.” ―Bjarke Ingels, BIG Architects
“Who knew urban studies could be so riveting? Geoff Manaugh excels at finding new, illicit, and fresh angles on a subject as loved as it is overexposed―the city. In his new book, elegant, perverse, sinuous supervillains maneuver and master the city like parkour champions. I see the TV series already.” ―Paola Antonelli, MoMA
“Reading Geoff Manaugh is like donning night-vision goggles at the edge of a dark forest―you are suddenly aware of, and alive to, a world that was always there but occluded. A Burglar’s Guide to the City is a crackerjack intellectual caper.” ―Tom Vanderbilt, New York Times bestselling author of You May Also Like and Traffic
“Despite its title, Geoff Manaugh's A Burglar's Guide to the City won't teach you how to break into houses. It won't help you outsmart wily cat burglars with ingenious home alarm systems, either. Instead, it explores something a lot weirder and more interesting: Manaugh argues that burglary is built into the fabric of cities and is an inevitable outgrowth of having architecture in the first place.” ―Annalee Newitz, Los Angeles Times
“An exhilarating, perspective-shifting read.” ―Patrick Lyons, VICE
“For years, Geoff Manaugh has entertained and fascinated us with his BLDGBLOG, and now he's even better at full-length, with A Burglar's Guide to the City, a multidisciplinary, eclectic, voraciously readable book that views architecture, built environments, and cities themselves through the lens of breaking-and-entering... Manaugh's work is characteristically far-ranging and eclectic, and always fascinating... Come for the true crime, stay for the education in architecture and urban planning.” ―Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“Intriguing... a surprising and fascinating true-crime epic.” ―BBC
“I cannot think of a more informed, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable tour guide through the historical and contemporary intersection of burglary and architecture than Geoff Manaugh. A Burglar’s Guide to the City makes disparate connections seem obvious in hindsight, and my worldview is altered a little bit more, and far for the better, as a result.” ―Sarah Weinman, Barnes & Noble Review
“Geoff Manaugh’s A Burglar’s Guide to the City gives the realm of architecture the kinetic thrills of a heist film.” ―Alex Bozikovic, The Globe and Mail
“Architecture blogger Geoff Manaugh’s fascinating book A Burglar’s Guide to The City posits that our living and working spaces, no matter how seemingly secure, are proving grounds for small-time crooks and sophisticated criminals alike; a smart thief will calibrate his routine based on the way a specific structure is designed. Manaugh’s book locates the spot where architecture and crime intersect.” ―Marc Weingarten, The Guardian
“A compelling review of the ingenious ways that burglars negotiate the built environment―and what we can learn from their infrastructural ingenuity.” ―Robbie Gonzalez, Wired
“Smart, original... delirious with ideas... it’s hard to argue with Manaugh’s contention that burglary is ‘a new science of the city, proceeding by way of shortcuts, splices, and wormholes.’” ―The Boston Globe
“A Burglar’s Guide to the City is a masterpiece of mad ideas, pouring out one after another. The book is one of the most enjoyable volumes of the year.” ―The Washington Free Beacon
“Manaugh turns the building world inside out in this fascinating view of the modern city as seen through the eyes of a potential burglar... Readers of this illuminating study will never look at the buildings and cities they live in the same way.” ―Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book contains seven chapters. The first chapter lays the groundwork, particularly through discussion of the aforementioned extremes. On one hand, there is George Leonidas Leslie, an architect turned bank robber who would build accurate mockups in order to accurately rehearse robberies, and--on the other hand--there is the guy who used a ghillie suit disguise in a rock and mineral museum (which, not unsurprisingly, featured barren rock displays [down-playing vegetation] such that the guy stuck out like a guy in a ghillie suit in a rock display.)
Chapter 2 details what Manaugh learned about burglary and the fight against it through his interviews with law enforcement, and—in particular—the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) helicopter unit.
The next chapter focuses on how different types of buildings are violated by burglars, and apartment burglaries are prominent in the discussion. This isn’t just about how they breach the building, but how they discover when no one will be home.
Chapter 4 is entitled “tools of the trade” and it reflects upon the skill-set that Hollywood suggests is associated with burglars—i.e. lock-picking and safe-cracking--but which constitute a less common set of tactics than one might think. Burglars usually favor the messier / quicker approach of busting walls and locks.
Chapter 5 deals with a number of issues under the rubric of “inside jobs” but one of the most intriguing is its discussion of those who don’t break in at all, but rather who hide inside the target building awaiting closing time.
The penultimate chapter is about that ever-present concern of burglars, the getaway. And sometimes the secret is what Black Widow says in “Captain America: Civil War”: “The first rule of being on the run is walk, don’t run.” The final chapter is a wrap-up, including a conclusion to the George Leonidas Leslie story that was brought up in the first chapter.
There are notes and citations at the end of the book. There are no graphics. I think this book could have benefited from graphics. However, the author displayed such skill with language and story-telling that I didn’t seem to notice (or care) at the time of reading. I suspect Manaugh didn’t want to present too much detail for fear of being seen as an actual manual for crime, which this clearly is not.
I found this book fascinating, and think you would enjoy it if you have any interests in cities, security, civil engineering, architecture, or just have a healthy curiosity about how buildings and cities work.
As the author says, the truth is that most burglary is mundane and not carried out by master thieves. That's true, but it's also not terribly interesting. Even the parts in which he explores the relationship between the built world and the criminals who find other ways to use it seem flaccid. I would have like more like the first chapter with its false doors and secret warehouses.
The modern world has plenty to offer to the crime aficionado too, with all of the digital crime that happens. Digital crime often involves a large amount of breaking and entering, or at least clever distribution of thumb drives. That would have been interesting, had he touched on it.
The author references the classic book by Harry Houdini - The Right Way to do Wrong, which sits on my bedstand. It's a much better book about the strange world of crime and expectations.
But instead of creative capers, the author gives us mundane stories about police ride alongs and interviews he conducted. This book would better be titled, "My experiences researching a book about burglary."
A great deal of space, for instance, is given to the world of hobby lock pickers and the author's own efforts to learn the skill. At the end of it all he informs us lock picking is irrelevant because burglars don't bother with picking locks, they force entry or find other means of getting into a building. Then why include this information at all?
When actual crimes are mentioned, they are given brief space and left me wanting more details. It felt as if more time was spent explaining the fictional plots of films and books than of real-life crimes.