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The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor

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The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

John Randel Jr. (1787–1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. Renowned for his inventiveness as well as his bombast and irascibility, Randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal—winning him admirers and enemies. In The Measure of Manhattan, Marguerite Holloway explores the science and symbolism of surveying, a craft that begat a surprising number of modern technologies. Tasked with “gridding” what was then an undeveloped, hilly island, Randel recorded the contours of Manhattan down to the rocks on its shores. In his precision he sought to tame the land; Holloway explores this philosophy as well as contemporary efforts to envision Manhattan as a wild island again. Illustrated throughout with historical images and antique maps, The Measure of Manhattan is about the ways we envision and inhabit the world, and is also an eye-opening biography of a man who was central to Manhattan’s development yet died in financial ruin.

Review:

"Between 1808 and 1865, John Randel Jr. altered the landscape of New York City by proposing, surveying, and establishing the current grid system of the modern city; during the same years, the inveterate and peripatetic genius also surveyed and divided portions of upstate New York, 'trudged hundreds of miles, laying out turnpikes and surveying routes for several of the country's earliest railroads,' and 'sounded the Hudson River south of Albany' in order to determine how ships might navigate the waters more easily. In this fascinating biography of a figure mostly eclipsed by the city's other sculptor, Robert Moses, Holloway traces Randel's life and career from his work mapping the grid of 'Mannahatta' to his plans for an elevated rail line and his constant efforts to improve the tools of his trade. Randel invented a number of devices — including a water level, a theodolite, and various measuring rods — for use in surveying parcels of land. The figure that emerges from Holloway's admiring portrait is a man who obsessed over precision, 'hoped his ideas would improve the world,' 'loved finding solutions' to problems, and who strove to see how best to move from the present into the future. 63 illus. Agent: Elaine Markson, Markson Thoma Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The first biography of a nineteenth-century genius, the man who plotted Manhattan’s famous city grid.

Synopsis:

John Randel Jr. (1787-1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. Renowned for his inventiveness as well as his bombast and irascibility, Randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal--winning him admirers and enemies. In The Measure of Manhattan, Marguerite Holloway explores the science and symbolism of surveying, a craft that begat a surprising number of modern technologies. Tasked with "gridding" what was then an undeveloped, hilly island, Randel recorded the contours of Manhattan down to the rocks on its shores. In his precision he sought to tame the land; Holloway explores this philosophy as well as contemporary efforts to envision Manhattan as a wild island again. Illustrated throughout with historical images and antique maps, The Measure of Manhattan is about the ways we envision and inhabit the world, and is also an eye-opening biography of a man who was central to Manhattan's development yet died in financial ruin.

Video

About the Author

Marguerite Holloway, the director of Science and Environmental Journalism at Columbia University, has written for Scientific American, Discover, the New York Times, Natural History, and Wired. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393071252
Author:
Holloway, Marguerite
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Architecture-Urban Planning
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 illustrations
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » Urban Planning
Biography » General
History and Social Science » Americana » New York
History and Social Science » Geography » General
History and Social Science » Geography » Mapping and Cartography
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor New Hardcover
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$26.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393071252 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Between 1808 and 1865, John Randel Jr. altered the landscape of New York City by proposing, surveying, and establishing the current grid system of the modern city; during the same years, the inveterate and peripatetic genius also surveyed and divided portions of upstate New York, 'trudged hundreds of miles, laying out turnpikes and surveying routes for several of the country's earliest railroads,' and 'sounded the Hudson River south of Albany' in order to determine how ships might navigate the waters more easily. In this fascinating biography of a figure mostly eclipsed by the city's other sculptor, Robert Moses, Holloway traces Randel's life and career from his work mapping the grid of 'Mannahatta' to his plans for an elevated rail line and his constant efforts to improve the tools of his trade. Randel invented a number of devices — including a water level, a theodolite, and various measuring rods — for use in surveying parcels of land. The figure that emerges from Holloway's admiring portrait is a man who obsessed over precision, 'hoped his ideas would improve the world,' 'loved finding solutions' to problems, and who strove to see how best to move from the present into the future. 63 illus. Agent: Elaine Markson, Markson Thoma Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The first biography of a nineteenth-century genius, the man who plotted Manhattan’s famous city grid.
"Synopsis" by , John Randel Jr. (1787-1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. Renowned for his inventiveness as well as his bombast and irascibility, Randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal--winning him admirers and enemies. In The Measure of Manhattan, Marguerite Holloway explores the science and symbolism of surveying, a craft that begat a surprising number of modern technologies. Tasked with "gridding" what was then an undeveloped, hilly island, Randel recorded the contours of Manhattan down to the rocks on its shores. In his precision he sought to tame the land; Holloway explores this philosophy as well as contemporary efforts to envision Manhattan as a wild island again. Illustrated throughout with historical images and antique maps, The Measure of Manhattan is about the ways we envision and inhabit the world, and is also an eye-opening biography of a man who was central to Manhattan's development yet died in financial ruin.
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