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Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center Hardcover – November 1, 1999
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From Library Journal
Among the most widely recognized of human-made structures, New York City's World Trade Center is both beloved for its photogenic skyline presence and vilified for symbolizing bloated bureaucracy and heartless modernism. These two books comprise initial attempts to flesh out the WTC's history, appraise its place in 20th-century architecture, and judge its success as urban design and economic planning. Neither author is an authority on architecture, city planning, politics, or economics, and both treat the WTC itself as a backdrop to the political maneuvering that made its creation possible. Gillespie (American studies, Rutgers) pens an absorbing account incorporating personal interviews and observations, exuding enthusiasm and empathy. In striking contrast, Darton's (cultural studies, Hunter Coll.) study brims with irony, invective, and irrelevant digressions. Where Gillespie sees the New York Port Authority, the WTC's parent, as a powerful agency struggling to fulfill its mandate to facilitate transport and commerce, Darton sees the undiluted evil of unaccountable government officials in pursuit of ignoble ends. The same events are given diametrically opposed interpretations, and a few facts appear to be in dispute. Gillespie examines the tower's planning and construction in far more depth, but both he and Darton take the same superficial approach as Tom Wolfe in From Bauhaus to Our House. For now, architecture librarians will remain better served by Anthony Robin's The World Trade Center (1987). Large urban planning collections, however, may want to add both Twin Towers and Divided We Stand as a lesson in contrasting interpretation.
-David Solt?sz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Twin Towers is a richly textured study of an important American icon that symbolizes the intertwining of capitalism and government entrepreneurship in the United States. A nicely crafted study, certain to be of interest to students of American politics and culture, and to engineers and architects." -- Jameson W. Doig, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University
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Top customer reviews
The colorful style of the book makes it easy to read and anecdotes and quotes of some of the people who actually participated to the construction of the center abound.
What can be regretted is the book's absence of cohesion at times: it seems like each chapter has been written separately, resulting in numerous repetitions from chapter to chapter. Twin Towers also looses some marks for its endless description of the author's attendance to an introductory course to world trade, which could have been better incorporated within the text.
Overall, the merit of Twin Towers is that through the pages of the book, the reader discovers the World Trade Center through the eyes of those who were directly involved with its construction; the grievance is that this is mosly a Port Authoriry's view of the World Trade Center project.
The product should have arrived in 2 weeks, but after 48h from Kentucy (USA) it arrives in my home in Venice (ITA)
Good book for have 20 years of age
For readers seeking a "brite" view of the WTC, I can recommend this book.
But if you're looking for a comprehensive, honest and balanced assessment of the WTC's controversial conception, design, and impact on life in Manhattan -- or if you seek any pictures or illustrations to give the narrative some context -- then look elsewhere.
The author devotes this book to a defense of the all-too-obvious belief that the WTC is (was) an American landmark and icon. In writing this defense, the author jumps around timelines and topics in a manner that proves quite confusing. In addition to the disorganized narrative, the author commits two other serious errors: He repeats elementary facts over and over, AND he fails to explain a number of obscure facts as well as opinions that are less clear-cut than he assumes.
Instead of discussing critics' views as a means of refuting them, the author instead brushes aside well-known design flaws, environmental concerns, and alleged corruption, offering uncritical praise of the protagonists. Even when interviewing leading proponents of the trade center, the author often merely paraphrases them.
The author's intent seems to be to keep the book upbeat and free of weighty issues. But the result is a somewhat bland book whose writing is lacking in flair, focus, and thoughtful analysis.
A few photographs might have aided in the book's upbeat approach. But here the publisher has inexcusably gone cheap. There's no photography. Even the book's few drawings are hand-drawn by an amateur or reprinted at no charge from public records.
Gillespie is an associate professor at Rutgers. He is intelligent, but his writing style needs an injection of flair, focus, and logical organization. I give this book an honorable mention for the author's effort and for the book's upbeat tone; the author clearly was a very big fan of the Trade Center, and fellow fans may like this book.
However, for a compellingly written and well-balanced book that covers the WTC's conception, construction, its impact on New Yorkers, and its controversies, I recommend "Divided We Stand" by Eric Dalton.