Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams

Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams

by

read-in-2018, , u-s-history, 2015, Architecture

A new perspective on a beloved cultural icon, its place in our history, and its meaning in the American imagination

This elegantly written appreciation of the Empire State Building opens up the building’s richness and importance as an icon of America. The book leads us through the facts surrounding the skyscraper’s conception and construction, then enters into a provocative theoretical discussion of its function as an icon, its representation in pictures, literature, and film, and the implications of its iconic status as New York’s most important architectural monument to ambition and optimism. The Empire State Building literally cannot be seen in its totality, from any perspective. And paradoxically, this building of unmistakable solidity has been made invisible by familiarity and reproduction through imagery. Mark Kingwell encourages us to look beneath the strong physical presence of the building, to become aware of its evolving layers of meaning, and to see how the building lives within a unique imaginative space in the landscape of the American consciousness. He offers new ways of understanding the Empire State Building in all its complexity and surprising insights into its special role as an American icon.

Title:Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780300106220
Format Type:

    Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams Reviews

  • Teri

    You may think this book is a "history of the Empire State Building" and although it does gloss over some historical facts about the quintessential building that commands that New York skyline, this is...

  • Jeff

    Nearest Thing To Heaven : The Empire State Building and American Dreams, by Mark Kingwell, is an utterly absorbing study of the building’s iconic status in popular culture. Far from being merely an ...

  • Diana

    Wow. Well, this book didn't seem to have much to do with the Empire State Building, sometimes going many pages without mentioning it. There was much talk of 9/11, the Great Depression, many pages summ...

  • ?oincidental   andy

    This is a book worthy of its famed subject.In spite of misspelling (Jean-Paul) Gaultier's name on p. 36, this is an insightful & eloquently-written book. That said, it is not a book that can merely be...