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Empire State Building: When New York Reached for the Skies [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Mann , Alan Witschonke , Lewis Hine

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Book Description

Oct. 4 2003 Wonders of the World Book

The illustrated true story of the world's most famous skyscraper.

In 1929 the race was on to construct the tallest building in the world. Less than two years later, the race was won and the age of skyscrapers had its exclamation point.

In Empire State Building, author Elizabeth Mann tells the story of an American icon. From start to finishing touches, she tracks the wonders of architecture, engineering, and construction that went into its creation. Her fascinating profiles of the millionaires and laborers capture the essence of the individuals who dreamed of and built this architectural marvel.

Alan Witschonke's paintings are bold and luminous, and his diagrams dazzlingly clear. Photographs by early 20th century master Lewis Hine take the reader up high into the heady, dangerous world of the steelworker out on the edge of girders way above the city streets. Empire State Building is a timely book about the enduring achievement of a great city.

Wonders of the World series

The winner of numerous awards, this series is renowned for Elizabeth Mann's ability to convey adventure and excitement while revealing technical information in engaging and easily understood language. The illustrations are lavishly realistic and accurate in detail but do not ignore the human element. Outstanding in the genre, these books are sure to bring even the most indifferent young reader into the worlds of history, geography, and architecture.

"One of the ten best non-fiction series for young readers."
- Booklist

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From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Mann's exploration of this New York City icon will capture the imaginations of report writers and general readers alike. The book begins with a discussion of the ambitious plan of two New Yorkers to build the tallest skyscraper and the architectural advances that made this 86-floor building possible. The author covers the competition that resulted from the simultaneous construction of the Chrysler Building, the real story behind the dirigible mast, and the speed of the construction. Labeled, full-page color illustrations help explain concepts. A captioned gatefold details design elements and gives a sense of the incredible height of the building. Numerous black-and-white pictures throughout the volume, and in a month-by-month sequence of photos, depict the construction process. The book concludes with photographs of significant events since the skyscraper's construction, a page of fast facts, a brief glossary, and a map of New York City locating the building. An ideal resource for classes working on architectural projects and a top choice for general reading.-Delia Fritz, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-8. This addition to the Wonders of the World Books series introduces the history of the famous skyscraper, which was begun in 1929 at the start of the Great Depression. Mann explains how the new construction techniques and use of steel instead of cast iron made very tall buildings both possible and practical, and introduces two men, Al Smith and John Raskob, whose talent and determination led to the success of the building venture. Mann writes clearly and concisely, never sacrificing the drama of the story. Smith and Raskob's endeavors to ensure that their structure surpassed the Chrysler Building and a description of an ill-fated attempt to land dirigibles on the 102d floor deck add elements of human interest. Period photos and Witschonke's full-color artwork add much to the text. Particularly impressive are the labeled paintings showing stages of the construction and the four-page foldout of the completed building. A selection of fast facts, a glossary, and a bibliography are appended. An appealing book for browsers and report writers alike. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On October 1, 1929, Alfred E. Smith joked with the reporters gathered on the roof of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at the corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner! July 28 2004
By Jammie Marie Schulte - Published on Amazon.com
Review By Robert Young, Lane ESD


Part of the Wonders of the World Books series, this title tells the story of the creation of one of America's most enduring symbols: the Empire State Building. From the demolition of the Waldorf-Astoria in 1929 to the completion of the Empire State Building that took its place in 1931, the book clearly chronicles the events in the creation of the world's tallest building at the time. Large, color illustrations as well as historical black and white photographs add another dimension to the text. An excellent large-format book could have been made even better by adding interesting details in sidebars along the way. A winner!
4.0 out of 5 stars Heritage New York Buildings Feb. 22 2014
By Happy Quilter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is off to my grandson as he is going to NYC. TheNY buildings are beautiful, but I grew up knowing about the actual builders, many of them Indian. Find it an interesting point. Background info makes seeing the building more awesome, no easy task. Hope he enjoys it one and goes back for histor with time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Feb. 18 2014
By Gerald Fischer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
fast delivery on a book for the grand kids books are the window to the world to learn is to live
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story rich in facts and engaging illustrations Aug. 19 2013
By Reading Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book that my child and I have read at least three times since getting it a few weeks ago. Patricia Mann has a great voice for children--she treats them as curious and deserving of nuance and detail. She doesn't sugar coat her stories, which we particularly appreciate. Details are made even more memorable by engaging illustrations. Worth reading again and again.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a modern metaphor for money and ego April 11 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on Amazon.com
There they are--hugging the walls of the hallway, eight silver cases, taller than I am, which open out into triptyches of a reader's delight--so many books. Cartons of books are piled on top of these treasure mines. On my way to work in After School Care, I found a chair, opened nearly all the cartons before I found a book to look at (games, artsy products, science kits were in those boxes). I am the librarian, thus in charge of our semi-annual Book Fair. I wanted just one book to look at for now. Tomorrow I set up this wonderland of books!

"Empire State Building" is the book from the carton--and what a great topic. Equal in feat and imagination to anything the ancient world built, this modern Wonder of the World is awesome. Alfred E. Smith, presidential aspirant to the office, and John J. Raskob, a private businessman, pooled sources to build the tallest skyscraper in existence.

Filled with all kinds of tidbits of information, this book relates the history of the building of the Empire State Building from inception through completion. After manufacturing made so many men rich, they tried to outdo each other in building the tallest skyscraper. The final competition came down to Walter Chrysler and Smith/Raskob. Who won, why, and how makes a clever little story.

What made possible the building of these really tall skyscrapers was steel. The walls of the first multi-storied buildings were weight-bearing and had to be built thicker and thicker at the base. The substitution of steel as the framework made skyscrapers possible. Another tidbit is the work supplied by the Mohawk Indians from New York and Canada. It became a new tribal position: that of future riveter.

There were 3500 workers on site every day doing sixty kinds of jobs. Only six people died during construction which began in late 1929. There are a total of 86 floors at 1050 feet. Windows number at 6,500 in the whole building; elevators number 64.

Only the Sears Tower in Chicago is taller than the Empire State Building.

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