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Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center
     

Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center

by Angus Kress Gillespie
 

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The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are more than office buildings. They are symbols of America, just as the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben represent their countries. Completed in 1976, these edifices are still the tallest man-made structures in New York City. Adorned with fountains and sculptures, the complex rises like Emerald City from what was once a dilapidated

Overview

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are more than office buildings. They are symbols of America, just as the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben represent their countries. Completed in 1976, these edifices are still the tallest man-made structures in New York City. Adorned with fountains and sculptures, the complex rises like Emerald City from what was once a dilapidated area of half-abandoned stores.

What went on before ground was even broken is a fascinating story in itself. Angus Gillespie recounts the political maneuvering necessary for the co-sponsor, the State of New Jersey, to agree to situate the project across the river in New York. Deftly presenting portraits of the men responsible for mooring the World Trade Center at its present location, he provides ample evidence that the backers were "second to none in self-promotion." Twin Towers also demonstrates how engineers prepared the site and solved complex problems (wind patterns, elevator placement, ground-water complications) in order to erect the towers, each with 110 stories. And Gillespie discusses the contrast between the architectural community's almost universal disdain for the tower's design and the public's enthusiastic acceptance of the buildings as a symbol of New York.

It is the people who give this complex life, purpose, and vibrancy, folklorist Gillespie points out. Through numerous first-hand interviews conducted with the people who daily work there, Twin Towers portrays the world of bankers, shippers, freight forwarders, and traders. With skill and insight, Gillespie captures what happens during a normal twenty-four hour day in the Twin Towers, starting with early morning food deliveries and ending with the patrols of nighttime security guards.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing thousands and forever changing the lives of many, many more. Here is a look at the WTC and what it has meant to New York City, the United States, and the world over the years since it was completed in 1971. Angus Kress Gillespie documents the preliminary debates over whether the towers should be built, the amazing feats of engineering needed to construct them, and the many ways in which they were a symbol for people everywhere. Indeed, they will continue to be a symbol -- of the perseverance and strength of the American public.
Charles R. Morris
...it offers a facinating section on the engineering challenges overcome by Yamasaki and the Port Authority project managers - the ingenious steel-and-concrete walls that allowed the foundations to be sunk in the middle of a major river; the 23 acres of new city land built from the excavations; the novel exterior supports to withstand the enormous wind shears.
The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451206848
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/2002
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

What People are Saying About This

Jameson W. Doig
From Jameson W. Doig, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University.

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.

Meet the Author

Angus Kress Gillespie is an associate professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. He is co-author of Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rutgers University Press) and other books and articles on American culture.

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