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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In Paris, in 1968, 18-year-old street performer Philippe Petit saw an illustration of the proposed World Trade Center towers, slated for construction in downtown Manhattan. Awestruck, he took a pencil and drew a line between the two rooftops. He had already dreamed of becoming a high-wire walker; but now he had identified his ultimate goal.
Over the next six years, Petit brought undying energy to perfecting his new craft. His first public performance took place atop Paris's Notre Dame in June 1971. Two years later, he walked between the northern pylons of the world's largest steel arch bridge in Sydney harbor. But Petit had not forgotten his dream of the towers and began to assemble a ragtag group of co-conspirators who would plan, train, and rehearse the complicated plan to rig an unauthorized high wire between the nearly finished towers in the dead of night.
One late-summer day in 1974, Petit's dream came true. As thousands gathered on the ground to watch in amazement, he made eight crossings between the towers, 110 stories above the earth, in less than an hour. In his ebullient memoir, he perfectly captures the exhilaration, triumph, and pure joy of this stunning achievement, from inception to aftermath. And he also offers his final word on his beloved towers in the aftermath of their destruction: "Architects, please make them more magnificent -- try a twist, a quarter turn…. Make them higher…so they reach 111 stories high…. When the towers again twin-tickle the clouds, I offer to walk again…in an aerial song of victory." (Fall 2002 Selection)