The Roaring Twenties were all about ambition, and New York embodied this mentality more than any other place in the world. In the spirit of the times, Walter Chrysler (of the Chrysler Building) and young financier George Ohrstrom (of the Manhattan Bank Building) competed to erect a structure that would reach to the skies. Behind it all were two brilliant architects, two men with a common past, but very different visions for the future.
Every bit as riveting as the best fiction, Higher takes fascinating characters and throws them into an extraordinary setting. The result is an unforgettable story filled with rich anecdotes and astounding feats.
"Bascomb's book is nicely rounded, exploring the finances and logistics of skyscraper building, from acquiring the land to riveting the steel; the benefits and drawbacks of height; and the personalities of the builders - all as he ratchets up the tension of the race." (Booklist)
"As a builder of perhaps more skyscrapers than anyone, I know a lot about them; yet Neal's book is very informative. This is a great and fascinating read for anyone interested in architecture, history, and New York City." (Donald J. Trump)
What listeners say about Higher
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Riveting (excuse the pun)!!
This book is wonderful! The story of these few men, their fabulous skyscrapers, the rush to build the tallest building, the detailed descriptions of building a highrise in the 1920's all together is better than most fiction I've read. I loved this book. (I happened on "Higher" after having read "Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin" and "The Great Gatsby" which are about the same era. All of this has now led me to "The Fountainhead" which has architecture as one of its themes -just suggestions for anyone interested in a very electric time and place in America).
5 people found this helpful
Outstanding Audio Book!!!
This was a really great read on many different levels. First of all, the history of the race to build the highest skyscraper in New York (the focus of the book) was extremely interesting. Second, the history of the limiting factors to building height over the ages was also quite insightful. Third, the backgrounds of the men involved and the stories of their lives, both before and after the events in this book, was also worth the price of admission.
The epilogue, which covers the time from the completion of the Empire State Building to almost the present time, was a great strength of the book. Learning the financial woes, the ups and downs of the buildings throughout the 20th century and even the disasters that struck (literally) the buildings after their construction was fascinating.
Finally, the effect of the great depression on the history of the buildings and the men involved left you wondering what would have happened if the race had taken place in different economic times.
Kudos to the narrator, who also did a great job (even when character voices were employed using different nationalities and accents). Liked the book so well, that I may give paperback copies for gifts at Christmas.
Well worth the time invested - you won't be disappointed!
8 people found this helpful
Reads like a Novel
Very well narrated story. You get to know history of the players involved as they compete to build the tallest building. Lots of history about the era and those that were part of it. Great to listen to and easy to follow. I really enjoyed this book and how the story was told.
1 person found this helpful
- Thor Finn
Little Did I Know
This was a terrific background to two New York skycrapers often taken for granted. My husband, an architect, loved the book. It's easy to imagine the city and the buildings if you've visited the area. The author does a great job of setting the times, and gives you a feel for the personalities involved. Very interesting.
Thought this was to be just another intreting book, and ended up loving the whole thing. Great listen and full of histrory. Seeing through the eyes of the Architect and Building Owners offers a multi-viewed perspective. Great.
The reader , try as he may, sounds like a 1920's/30's radio announcer. It's quite annoying. And his attempts and pronunciation in foreign tongues - not good.