Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Centerby Angus Kress Gillespie
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.
The Wall Street Journal
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- 6.04(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)
What People are Saying About This
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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