In his wholly engaging foray into urban spatial crimes, A Burglar's Guide to the City, BLDGBLOG author Geoff Manaugh offers a close-up look into the often-unseen connection between architecture and burglary. Covering a wide range of subjects related to burglary, including (in)famous crimes, getaways, risk factors, evasion techniques, architectural design, security, historical precedents, legal definitions, and tools of the trade, Manaugh captures the mystery, intrigue, and science of his topic quite well. With obvious enthusiasm and curiosity, Manaugh's research took him to both ends of the burglary spectrum (from federal law enforcement to reformed criminals) in his quest to discover and understand the relationship between architecture, spatial design, and burglary. Enticing and often absorbing, A Burglar's Guide to the City holds a magnifying lens above the urban milieu, revealing an entire world of architectural vulnerability, spatial puzzles, and negligent design overlooked by most (law-abiding) city-dwellers; a veritable second city oblivious to most, yet offering treasures (both literal and metaphorical) to those observant enough to know what they're looking at (or for). Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The city seen from a unique point of view: those who want to break in and loot its treasures
At the heart of Geoff Manaughs A BURGLARS GUIDE TO THE CITY is an unexpected and thrilling insight: the city as seen through the eyes of robbers. From experts on both sides of the law, readers learn to understand the city as an arena of possible tunnels and picked locks—and architecture itself as an obstacle to be outwitted and second-guessed.
From how to pick locks (and the tools required) to how to case a bank on the edge of town, readers will learn to spot the vulnerabilities, blind spots, and unseen openings that surround us all the time. This simultaneously allows us to view the city—from specific buildings and individual rooms to whole neighborhoods—through the privileged eyes of FBI investigating agents and security consultants, people dedicated both to solving and to preempting these attempts at devious entry.Full of absurd and marvelous stories of heists and capers, A BURGLARS GUIDE TO THE CITY offers a kind of criminal X-ray of our built environment, Never again will readers enter a bank without imagining the vault geometry, or visit a museum without plotting ways to bring their favorite painting home with them.
"Murphy’s Law—anything that can go wrong will go wrong—is especially true for architecture. Geoff Manaugh’s liaisons with burglars and bank robbers reveal unexplored niches and loopholes in our cities, and through the eyes of urban hackers we find new possibilities for reinterpreting the built environment. A Burglar’s Guide to the City shows that architecture is too important to leave to just the architects." Bjarke Ingels, BIG Architects
"This is a marvelous wonder-room of a thing, an intricate, deeply researched, and brilliantly written mad scientist’s tour of crime and how it’s bound to the world we’ve built. Revealing, spectacular, and riveting." Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and The Planetary Omnibus
"Who knew urban studies could be so riveting? Geoff Manaugh excels at finding new, illicit, and fresh angles on a subject as loved as it is overexposed—the city. In his new book, elegant, perverse, sinuous supervillains maneuver and master the city like parkour champions. I see the TV series already." Paola Antonelli, MoMA
"This burglar’s guide isn’t for ordinary smash and grab burglars, it’s for the rest of us—who like to steal in, steal out, and get away with glorious dreams. A spectacularly fun read." Robert Krulwich, co-host of Radiolab
Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again.
At the core of A Burglar's Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: how any building transforms when seen through the eyes of someone hoping to break into it. Studying architecture the way a burglar would, Geoff Manaugh takes readers through walls, down elevator shafts, into panic rooms, up to the buried vaults of banks, and out across the rooftops of an unsuspecting city.
With the help of FBI Special Agents, reformed bank robbers, private security consultants, the L.A.P.D. Air Support Division, and architects past and present, the book dissects the built environment from both sides of the law. Whether picking padlocks or climbing the walls of high-rise apartments, finding gaps in a museum's surveillance routine or discussing home invasions in ancient Rome, A Burglar's Guide to the City has the tools, the tales, and the x-ray vision you need to see architecture as nothing more than an obstacle that can be outwitted and undercut.
Full of real-life heists-both spectacular and absurd-A Burglar's Guide to the City ensures readers will never enter a bank again without imagining how to loot the vault or walk down the street without planning the perfect getaway.
About the Author
Geoff Manaugh is the founder of BLDGBLOG, one of the most popular architecture sites on the web, and the current editor of Gizmodo, the Gawker empires super-popular gadget/technology blog.