Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Book Review: Man on Wire
Author: Philippe Petit

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, 2008

Hardcover:   244 pages

Language: English

ISBN: 978-1-602-39332-5

Reviewer: Jan Klerks, CTBUH Communications Manager/Journal Editor

On a lighter note, on the morning of August 7, 1974, young French funambulist (one who performs on a tightrope) Philippe Petit illegally rigged 200 feet of steel cable between the two World Trade Center towers and walked between them repeatedly, lying down at one point and making eight crossings in all. The stunt was actually a well prepared operation (called: le coup), which is described in the book called Man on Wire. An interesting observation is that Petit was arrested, but not sentenced for his actions. Petit’s performance reduced the Twin Towers from massive skyscraper to objects of play. By doing so he humanized the towers bringing them down to a human scale, which was quite a novel way of looking at them at the time. As a way of saying thanks for the free and cheerful exposure, and also to show respect, the Port Authority presented Petit with a life time pass to the Windows of the World observatory in the top of the North Tower.