The Man Who Walked Between the Towers


The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein

Roaring Brook Press, 2003

34 pp.

Age: 5+

Interests: history, biography, street performers, New York, circus

Next: another book about tightrope walking – Mirette on the High Wire; another true story of daring – The Glorious Flight

In 1974, as the World Trade Center towers were being completed, a street performer named Philippe Petit decided to walk a tightrope between them. Certain he would be refused permission, Philippe and his friends snuck into the buildings and after dark endeavoured, incredibly, to string a wire cable between the towers. As dawn broke he began his walk, performing tricks a quarter of a mile in the sky for nearly an hour. He was arrested as soon as he stepped off the wire, and became part of the colourful history of New York City.

At the end of the story it states simply that the towers are no longer there – with no further explanation – and ends 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 7th, 1974, when Philippe Petit walked between them in the air.

An amazing, amazing tale which should astonish young and old. It is told simply and poetically, and I swear the drawings gave me vertigo. A terrific conversation should follow… What would drive a man to take such a risk? This book attempts to explain his joy at being so high above the city, and takes great delight in his bravado and showmanship.

I might not choose to read this to young daredevils, but will leave that decision up to you!

(This title at


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