Eric Darton is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Free City, a cofounder of Yomama Art in New York City, and a former contributing editor of Conjunctions. He teaches media, technology, and cultural studies at Hunter College in New York City.
Divided We Stand: A Biography Of New York's World Trade Centerby Eric Darton
When the World Trade Towers in New York City were erected at the Hudson’s edge, they led the way to a real estate boom that was truly astonishing. Divided We Stand reveals the coming together and eruption of four volatile elements: super-tall buildings, financial speculation, globalization, and terrorism. The Trade Center serves as a potent symbol of the disastrous consequences of undemocratic planning and development.This book is a history of that skyscraping ambition and the impact it had on New York and international life. It is a portrait of a building complex that lives at the convergence point of social and economic realities central not only to New York City but to all industrial cities and suburbs. A meticulously researched historical account based on primary documents, Divided We Stand is a contemporary indictment of the prevailing urban order in the spirit of Jane Jacobs’s mid-century classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
- Basic Books
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Hachette Digital, Inc.
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 2 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have loved the WTC towers since I was a student and neighbor in lower Manhattan 1971-1976. Mr. Darton shares that love, and like all lovers, he can see the WTC's troubled conception, strange family ties, and bad habits, but still admire it for what it became. The book is a comprehensive study of city planning gone awry. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I expect I'll reread it many times.
This book is not so much a biography of the WTC but a pedantic historical timeline of city planning and lots and lots of politics. It was very hard for me to get through the endless discussions of the Rockefellers and the zoning advocates versus the common people of Radio Row (who were displaced by the building of the Towers). Darton does not use simple language, and this makes reading this book a chore. Over 100 pages go by before the ground breaking is noted, and the only interesting ( albeit eerie) story is on page 117, when the first bombing is briefly touched upon. The actual construction is reduced to 3 pages, then right back to the politics again. If you are at all interested in the ¿real¿ story of the WTC then pass this one up and read Gillespie¿s book, for Darton¿s interest lies not within bringing the magic of the WTC to us, rather his motive is to bore us with government squabbles and the like.
Wonderful description about the political and economic aspects of getting the WTC built. Excellent detail of people and the events that revolved around this wonderful place.
Only that I wish I could meet Eric Darton in person to talk to him one on one about his book because you can feel his passion for these beautiful buildings through his writing. It was a good read very interesting.
Part history lesson, part autobiography (in the second person, no less!), part architectural study, part urban planning critique... No wonder my thoughts about this book are fragmented and ambivalent. I wish the book had been written in a few separate complete sections, something like Part One--The History of New York Real Estate, Part Two--The Forces Behind the WTC's Creation, Part Three--The Rockefellers, Part Four--The Builders... You get the idea. Instead, the book, while it does offer several fascinating and provocative sections, they're spread out among so many other topics and diversions, that I lost my patience several times and had to put the book away for days at a time. The only section that was complete was the most effective, and that was the discussion about the now-lost Radio Row and the neighborhood around it. I would recommend the book just for that section, and for its studies of August Tobin and the Rockefeller clan. But I couldn't in good conscience give it a higher rating than the one I gave it. I was that divided.