When thrill seeker Nik Wallenda crossed Niagra Falls on a tightwire Friday night, it captured the attention of the country.
A west bank man is pretty familiar with the feat. He wrote a book about the first man who ever completed the task, The Great Blondin.
"That was his stage name. His real name was Jean Francois Gravelet," Dean Shapiro said from his home in Algiers.
Shapiro says he was fascinated with tightwire walkers, specifically Blondin, when he was a boy. As a young man, he researched old newspaper clippings and photos to write his book entitled Blondin, which was published in 1990.
Shapiro says Blondin made the tightwire trek over the falls 16 times, going across and back, for a total of 32 trips. But he says Wallenda's feat was more difficult because his wire stretched right over the teeth of the falls.
"The rope might be slippery from the mist. Plus his vision might be obscured because that mist is constantly going up."
Shapiro says, now that Wallenda has completed the feat, he hopes to sent him a congratulations gift.
"I'm going to autograph a copy of my book and find out where to send it to congratulate him."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times