THE BUILDING OF MANHATTAN by Donald McKay (Harper & Row: $12.95 , illustrated)

Using a combination of Rapidograph drawings and text, Donald McKay traces the history of construction on Manhattan Island, from Amerindian lodges through the completion of the 110-story World Trade Center in 1971. He describes how advances in technology--cast-iron facades, elevators, steel skeletons--enabled people to build ever higher within its limited confines. The most interesting section of the book is a step-by-step account of the construction of a skyscraper, beginning with demolition of an older building on the site and concluding with the installation of the stone-and-glass skin. After reading McKay's concise explanations, the reader can discern the complex planning that underlies the apparent confusion at a construction site.

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