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Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams.
Kingwell, Mark.
Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams.
Kingwell's portrayal of the Empire State Building as an architectural and cultural icon straddles the line between personal essay and historical nonfiction. A philosophy professor and Harper's contributing editor, Kingwell discusses the building's aesthetics and before riffing philosophically about how "the truth of the building lies in its entire universe of use and meaning." Namely, the people who have worked in the Empire State Building and visited it, and the memories that have been made there. Kingwell's tone-nostalgic, reflective, respectful-will appeal to readers with similar reverence for architecture (New York architecture, especially). Rather than reading like a history textbook, its seven stand-alone sections (with titles like "Palace of Dreams" and "Scrape the Sky") move between philosophical questions ("Why do we value what we value?") and more specific, colorful descriptions ("it was the world's first mega-project, employing...the equivalent of a small industrial town"). The author has left out some nuts and bolts, making the book frustrating for those looking for technical details, but the absorbing prose and casual pace will appeal to readers interested in the bigger picture.

Category: Architecture, History & Theory
Binding: Cl.
Pages: 256 pp
Publisher: Yale University Press.
Year: 2006
Publication Place: New Haven,
ISBN: 030010622X
Book Id: 68973

Price: $26.00

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