Chronicles of ambition, architecture, history, and labor.



The Chrysler Building:
Creating a New York Icon Day by Day

By David Stravitz


David Stravitz stumbled across a box of negatives documenting the construction of the 77-story Art Deco masterpiece, completed in 1930, days before they were to be destroyed. This fascinating, image-stuffed book is the result.



Empire Rising

By Thomas Kelly


Kelly's powerful novel centers on an Irishman employed in the building of the Empire State Building. Michael Briody is not just working high above Manhattan and sending money back home to support the Republican cause, he's also fallen for a gal who leads him into the city's underworld. Riveting.




Skyscrapers: A History of the World's
Most Extraordinary Buildings

By Judith Dupre


Buildings by architects Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Cesar Pelli, Frank Lloyd Wright, and more than 50 others get the full treatment here—photos, plans, diagrams, background, technological information, and more—in a fittingly oversized tome.




Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky
and the Making of a City

By Neal Bascomb


Bascomb narrates the compelling history of two Roaring Twenties architects—William Van Alen and Craig Severance—who were once partners and became bitter adversaries. Each fought to outdo the other in claiming the tallest building in Manhattan's skyline, but their two structures (the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street) were soon to be put in the shade by the looming eminence of the Empire State.



Building the Empire State 

By Carol Willis


The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world for 40 years. Built in 11 months, the frame rose—incredibly—more than a story a day. Working from the detailed records of Starrett Brothers and Eken, the chief contractors on the job, Carol Willis meticulously charts the architectural icon's ascent.


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.