arts 01.23.04

4 New NY Books

City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center
Author: James Glanz and Eric Lipton
(Times Books, $26)
· The story of the Twin Towers, from their first glimmering at the 1939 World's Fair, their unlikely development, their short life, and horrific end, is given a full account; the events (and the characters who drove them) depict how the towers became the unlikely objective correlative of our collective love for the city.
"Fascinating and tragic, encompassing, as it does, the best and worst of human ingenuity." Booklist

Gotham Tragic
Author: Kurt Wenzel
(Little Brown, $23.95, available 2/23)
· Despite the title, this is another sharp comedy from Mr. Wenzel, a sequel to his first novel Lit Life. It follows the same character, Kyle Clayton, as he navigates power and fame in the late 90s among fictional (though certainly familiar) Manhattan figures.
"Unlike many novels of New York, which try to eviscerate a particular subculture, Wenzel's has an omnivorous, Tom Wolfe-ian appetite for the city at all levels and a rakish ability to sketch it all in howlingly funny, satirical ways." Kirkus Reviews

Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center
Author: Daniel Okrent
(Viking, $29.95)
· In City in the Sky (see above), David Rockefeller plays a key role in the drama. Here, John D. Rockefeller is the mover and shaker, along with a truly fabulous cast of New Yorkers.
"An absorbing, brilliantly written history…." New York Times Book Review

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
Author: David Von Drehle
(Atlantic Monthly Press, $25)
· An account of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, in which 146 people died on the ninth floor of a building near Washington Square Park. The book sketches portraits of some of the victims, who were mostly European immigrants. It also places the tragedy in the context of labor conditions of the time, and recounts reforms that came about as a result of that day.
"An enthralling chronicle of that distant and very different disaster, which left its own profound mark on the city and taught lessons that we are badly in need of remembering." New York Times Book Review
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