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City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center
 
 

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City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center [Paperback]

James Glanz , Eric Lipton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)


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Book Description

August 1, 2004 0805076913 978-0805076912 Reprint
"A fascinating story . . . Those who delighted in Caro's Power Broker will relish City in the Sky."
-Thomas Bender, The New York Times Book Review

The World Trade Center was the biggest and brashest icon that New York has ever produced-a pair of magnificent giants that became intimately familiar around the globe.

In this vivid, brilliantly researched narrative, New York Times reporters James Glanz and Eric Lipton re-create the life of the World Trade Center from its genesis in David Rockefeller's ambition to rebuild lower Manhattan to the spirited battles with local storeowners and powerful politicians who opposed it, to the bold structural engineering innovations that would later determine who lived and died in its collapse. And like David McCullough's The Great Bridge, City in the Sky is a riveting story of New York itself- of architectural daring, political maneuvering, human ambition and frailty, and a lost American icon.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is not a book only about September 11; the towers' collapse begins on number 236 of 337 pages of narrative text. New York Times reporters Glanz (science) and Lipton (metropolitan news) instead deliver a thoroughly absorbing account of how the World Trade Center developed from an embryonic 1939 World's Fair building to "a city in the sky, the likes of which the planet had never seen." In this lively page-turner, intensively researched and meticulously documented, a world of international trade, business history, litigation, architecture, engineering and forensics comes clear-a political and financial melodrama with more wheeling and dealing than Dallas, touched lightly with the comedic and haunted by tragedy. The authors move a Robert Altman-sized cast (engineers, architects, iron workers, builders, demolitionists, lawyers, mobsters, mayors, mathematicians, critics, activists, real estate dealers, biochemists, union organizers, an aerialist, an arsonist) through the design, construction, destruction and memorializing. Faceless entities like the Port Authority acquire names, personal histories and diverse agendas. Bureaucratic reports and public hearings, reduced with clarity and balance, become comprehensible, even readable. The authors are remarkably skilled at telling all without telling too much: a "deadening" 44-page speech by Port Authority official Austin Tobin gets short shrift but a fair account. Their descriptions of new technologies (e.g., "artificial creakiness"), fresh experiments (particularly in wind engineering), complicated financial maneuverings and secret studies become clear to the non-specialist reader. While some superlatives might have been avoided ("the biggest and brashest icons that New York ever produced," etc.), Glanz and Lipton tell this compelling story without becoming overwrought, and with graphs and charts (and 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW) that contribute immensely to understanding the logistical and technical aspects of the project. This book may be the definitive popular account of the towers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* New York Times reporters Glanz (science) and Lipton (metropolitan news) briskly and lucidly tell the entire wrenching story of the genesis and destruction of the World Trade Center, once a testament to capitalistic ambition and technical innovation, now a monument to hubris, apocalyptic hate, and the suffering of innocents. The authors begin with engrossing profiles of the men who dreamed up the World Trade Center 40 years ago, most notably David Rockefeller, the Port Authority's feisty Guy Tozzoli, and Japanese American architect Minoru Yamasaki, who was afraid of heights and had never built a skyscraper before. Drawing on fresh and extensive research, Glanz and Lipton chart the contentious and irresponsible design process in which untested structural technologies were deemed safe over the objections of a prescient few who worried about fire and airplane collisions. The authors' highly detailed yet always human and dramatic chronicling of the towers' unprecedented construction, as well as unique insights into how the controversial twin towers finally won the affection of skeptical New Yorkers only to come under siege--first by an arsonist-janitor, then by terrorist bombers in 1993, and, finally, by those who brought them down on that unforgettable September 11--is both fascinating and tragic, encompassing, as it does, the best and worst of human ingenuity. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805076913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805076912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(24)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Historical & Technical Read February 17, 2017
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book really went in depth into the people behind the creation of the WTC, and how certain decisions affected the structures and the people who worked in them. The chapter on the actual plane crashes was very difficult to read, like revisiting the horror. This book does a very good job of making you understand the circumstances that led to structural failure.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Paperback February 9, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"City in the Sky" is a well- researched, well -documented account of the site acquisition, construction, and eventual collapse of the New York World Trade Center. (There are other WTCs). It is immediately obvious that the authors have conducted extensive interviews and research. Full disclosure: This reviewer worked at the facility for 24 years for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Most of the anecdotes retold in CIS are just as I originally heard them years ago. (With some exceptions: On Austin Tobin's first trip on the newly acquired Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, the sleeping drunk supposedly woke up long enough to bid the Executive Director "good evening" before passing out again. Also, some of the PA titles are inaccurate, though not wrong. There was one obvious leg-pull about a "mailroom worker".) CIS in really 3 stories in one: The first is the strongest: That tale encompasses the struggle to condemn the surrounding real estate, overcome local opposition and secure Governmental cooperation for the project. Those who enjoyed such works as Robert Caro's "The Power Broker" will be in their element here. The second is concerned with the actual construction of the 2 towers and satellite buildings. The authors manage to include just enough technical details to tell the story without allowing this section of CIS to become too technical. The final part deals with that tragic day we now call 9/11. This reviewer does not wish to minimize that awful event but this tale has been told better, or as well, elsewhere. One assumes its' inclusion was virtually mandatory in a 400+ page work on the Trade Center but it emerges, perhaps strangely, as the weakest section of CIS. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars INFORMATIVE April 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book because it was picked to read for our book club. To just pick it up and read I would not have. Having said that it was a good book and I am glad to have read it. The first part could be boring to some because of its technical information, political haggling, and informative information, but with that said it kept me 'hanging on' as I plowed through that part. I did enjoy the book and learned a LOT of information I otherwise would not have known. I do recommend it because of its historicity.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed reading this angle about the WTC. It went into its origins, the people behind the idea and their connections and journey. The detail included was from all different levels, those who wanted the city in the sky and those that did not. This book intertwined the journey of a building with the relationships associated to the rise and fall of it. It was more than I expected. A great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 5, 2015
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Wealth of factual information and background history on the entire WTC story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learning about the towers November 11, 2015
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Very good book. Tells so much about the towers that I did not know. Easy reading and good explanations. Enjoyed it very much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars City in the Sky - A Great Read! March 2, 2016
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Really great book! Very informative and interesting. Recommend it highly!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars March 4, 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great job!
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