Jimmy Guterman's blog

media, technology, management, and the rest of it

On wishing real life were more like fiction

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Over the weekend I finished Wrestling With Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City. It was a pretty good book about the battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs over the future of Manhattan. The author is clearly on Jacobs’ side, but he shines light on both positions.

This was a big battle with big stakes, fought by people with big personalities. Anthony Flint lays out those stakes well, but I left the book disappointed because there was never any in-person confrontation between Moses and Jacobs. This isn’t Flint’s fault — it never happened, and he wasn’t going to make it up — but if I ever read a novel about such a high-stakes battle, I’d be disappointed if there was no direct meeting. I want to read about conflict rising and resolved. Yet another case, I suppose, in which fiction is more satisfying than real life.

Written by guterman

August 17, 2009 at 10:33 am

Posted in reading

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