The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers
Robert Zemeckis’ new motion picture, The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, provides a thrilling dramatization of the preparation and daring to stage the 1974 high wire crossing between the World Trade Center Towers. Petit walked across the two World Trade Center towers, nearly 1/4 mile off the ground, while New Yorkers gazed in amazement from the streets below.
The team planning the crossing had to devise ways to elude security and carry the 440 pounds of cable to the top of the towers. Part of the plan was shooting the cable with a bow the 140 feet from one tower to the other.
In 2003 Mordicai Gerstein recounts the daring event in his book The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers, [ Tweet This ] which would later win the Caldecott Medal, awarded by the American Library Association to the most distinguished American picturebook of that year.
The last page of the book has an imagined view of the twin World Trade Center Towers with:
But in memory, as if imprinted on the sky, the towers are still there. And part of that memory is the joyful morning, August 7, 1974, when Philippe Petit walked between them in the air.
The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers, written & illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein; Roaring Brook Press, 2003
2004 Caldecott Medal Winner
Children’s Picturebook Price Guide Value: $70 Fine
Essential identifying point
Copyright page: Must have two complete number lines, as follows
ISBN 0-7613-1791-0 (trade edition)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
ISBN 0-7613-2868-8 (library binding)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Book design by Filomena Tuosto
Printed in the United States of America
A Fun Fact
Page 13: After he was awarded the Caldecott Medal, Petit wrote Gerstein a detailed letter praising the book, with one teeny, tiny, correction, being the size of the cable. In first an early printings the cable was “five-eighths” inch thick; in later printings, “five-eighths” was changed to “seven-eighths” in the following line
“To his end of the stronger line, Philippe tied the cable on which he would walk. It was five-eighths of an inch thick.”