Power at Ground Zero

Power at Ground Zero

Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan

Book - 2016
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Al Qaeda's destruction of the World Trade Center complex on 9/11 set in motion a chain of events that fundamentally transformed both the United States and the wider world. War has raged in the Middle East for a decade and a half, and Americans have become accustomed to surveillance, enhancedsecurity, and periodic terrorist attacks. But the symbolic locus of the post-9/11 world has always been "Ground Zero"- the handful of acres in Manhattan's financial district where the twin towers collapsed. While idealism dominated in the initial phase after the attack, interest-group trenchwarfare soon ensued. Myriad battles involving all of the interests with a stake in that space - real estate interests, victims' families, politicians, the MTA, the federal government, community groups, architectural firms, and a panoply of ambitious entrepreneurs grasping for pieces of the pie -raged for over a decade, and nearly fifteen years later there are still loose ends that need resolution. In Power at Ground Zero, Lynne Sagalyn offers the definitive account of one of the greatest reconstruction projects in modern world history. Sagalyn is America's most eminent scholar of major urban reconstruction projects, and this is the culmination of fifteen years of research and writing. Theresult is Caro-esque in both its monumentality and the granularity of the coverage. At base it is a New York story, and Sagalyn has an extraordinary command over all of the actors and moving parts involved in the drama. But the symbolism of the reconstruction extends far beyond New York. Comparisonswith other international disasters pervade the discourse on the subject, and the architects and planners competing for the rebuilding job had to demonstrate how their vision regarding new buildings and memorials compared with other such projects around the world. Needless to say, the reconstructionproject was also freighted with twin tasks of symbolizing American resilience and projecting American power. As a result, every aspect was contested. As Sagalyn points out, modern city building is often dismissed as cold-hearted and detached from meaning. The opposite was true at Ground Zero,however. Every action was infused with symbolic significance and needed to be debated. The emotional dimension of 9/11 made this large-scale rebuilding effort unique; it supercharged the complexity of the rebuilding process with a particular sanctity and a particular politics. Covering all of thisand more, Power at Ground Zero is sure to stand as the most important book ever written on the aftermath of arguably the most significant isolated event in the post-Cold War era.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2016.
ISBN: 9780190607029
Branch Call Number: 974.71
Characteristics: xviii, 901 pages : illustrations, maps; 27 cm


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