The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventorby Marguerite Holloway
John Randel Jr. (1787–1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. Renowned for his inventiveness as well as his bombast and irascibility, Randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal—winning him admirers and enemies. In The Measure of Manhattan,/b>
John Randel Jr. (1787–1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. Renowned for his inventiveness as well as his bombast and irascibility, Randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal—winning him admirers and enemies. In The Measure of Manhattan, Marguerite Holloway explores the science and symbolism of surveying, a craft that begat a surprising number of modern technologies. Tasked with “gridding” what was then an undeveloped, hilly island, Randel recorded the contours of Manhattan down to the rocks on its shores. In his precision he sought to tame the land; Holloway explores this philosophy as well as contemporary efforts to envision Manhattan as a wild island again. Illustrated throughout with historical images and antique maps, The Measure of Manhattan is about the ways we envision and inhabit the world, and is also an eye-opening biography of a man who was central to Manhattan’s development yet died in financial ruin.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Marguerite Holloway, the director of Science and Environmental Journalism at Columbia University, has written for Scientific American, Discover, the New York Times, Natural History, and Wired. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Easy to read style, details provided in a logical sequence. References to other significant geodetic developments that were arising concurrently. Specifically, the considerations given to gravimetric data were helpful to perceiving the Manhattan survey in the context of survey activities, nationally and internationally. For the non-surveyor, this book serves to connect the implications of a precise survey for the immediate and long-term development of Manhattan.