Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bold, Bizarre, Beautiful Books

This will be an ongoing, occasional series of posts highlighting some of the cool, strange, and beautiful books we have at the Mukwonago Community Library that most of us don't know exist. No particular criteria for inclusion other than I found them to be intriguing and/or fun and want to let others know about them as well.

BBBB #1: Skyscrapers

Over a foot-and-a-half in length, this book is a terrific photographic and historical review of skyscrapers and our fascination
with them. While this tall, but narrow, volume would serve well in a "coffee table" capacity, it is also chock full of fun details and intersting narratives about the quest to build the tallest buildings in the world. Why do we build up? What is our fascination, and sometimes dread, with being high up above all else?

This book examines those questions as well as providing some terrific photographs. It both eye-candy and history, rolled together with a little societal examination and exploration of human nature.

Particularly poignant is the section on the World Trade Center, pages 66-67, which opens with the following passage:
At 12:18 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 1993, everyone's worst urban nightmare came true: a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center (WTC), collapsing walls, igniting fires, and leaving 50,000 workers and visitors gasping for air and stranded in darkness in the shafts of the 110-story towers.
Of course, it turns out that wasn't the worst urban nightmare, only a foreshadowing of a far more horrific and tragic event.

Overall, though, this is a fun book and an informative one. It begins with ancient "skyscrapers" like the pyramids of Egypt and the Mayan temples in Central America and follows mankind's desire to build up all the way to the partially completed Kuningan Persada Tower in Jakarata, Indonesia.

Skyscrapers can be found in the oversize materials section, near the reference collection, under the call # OV720.483 Dupre.

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