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NONFICTION

FLATIRON by Peter Gwillim Kreitler (The American Institute of Architects: 217 pp.; $29.95). Some buildings, like some actors, have magic in them, and if this exceptional compilation of views does nothing else, it demonstrates that New York’s Flatiron was as incapable of taking a bad picture as was James Dean. The tallest office building in the country when it was constructed in 1902, it had “an edge almost as sharp as the bow of a ship,” something that shocked observers and made it the sensation of its time. Photographers, however, fell immediately and forever in love. It is to the United States, Alfred Stieglitz told his father, “what the Parthenon was to Greece.” In Kreitler’s book, 15 years in the making, it gets the showcase it deserves.


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