Jan 3, 2010

MAN ON WIRE by Philippe Petit

excerpt of book description by Reg Seeton at The Deadbolt

After reading Petit’s story of how he planned and executed the unbelievable high wire walk in Man on Wire, the event still seems impossible. What’s even more astonishing is that Peitit made eight trips across the wire, at times lying down on his back, bending to one knee, and balancing on one leg. Still, it doesn’t seem possible. But it really happened and Philippe Petit lived to not only tell his story but to write about it for posterity as well.

To put the event into context, Man on Wire is the story of an artist, an expressionist, a magician, a daredevil, an actor, a rebel, and, by legal standards given New York City law, a criminal. From front to back, Man on Wire chronicles the high wire walk from the initial idea after reading about the construction of the Twin Towers in a French newspaper, Philippe’s quest to become a high wire artist, his travels and training in Australia, his move to New York City to become a street performer, his obsession with the Twin Towers, setting the high wire plan in motion, assembling his trusted team of friends, plotting a coup on the towers, going undercover to get access to the top of the world, the meticulous six-year mission, the actual walk itself, and the aftermath of being at “Death’s Door” with the New York City Police Department (N.Y.P.D.). As Petit explains, it was more dangerous to be ushered down the WTC steps by the police at breakneck speed than to perform the walk.

... Man on Wire beams with Philippe’s passion and determination, but it also reveals how the death defying walk was also a result of a tight and trusted collaboration with Petit’s closest friends Jean-Louis and Annie, and several others. Strewn throughout the book are images of the actual blueprints of the Twin Towers, security sketches, original conceptual sketches, equipment, photos of the walk itself, and more. Petit leaves no stone unturned in revealing every aspect of how he pulled off his high wire coup.

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