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Ben Greenman's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Ben Greenman recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Ben Greenman's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Luc Sante's Low Life is a portrait of America's greatest city, the riotous and anarchic breeding ground of modernity. This is not the familiar saga of mansions, avenues, and robber barons, but the messy, turbulent, often murderous story of the city's slums; the teeming streets--scene of innumerable cons and crimes whose cramped and overcrowded housing is still a prominent feature of the cityscape.

Low Life voyages through Manhattan from four different directions. Part One examines the actual topography of Manhattan from 1840 to 1919; Part Two, the era's opportunities...
Recommended by Ben Greenman, and 1 others.

Ben GreenmanWell, I think when people come into New York, if they’ve never been here before, they think of all the possible dangers—purse snatchings and peep shows, that sort of thing—and that’s part of the appeal. In any giant city that has this many people so close together, those things are going to happen. White’s mission was to go out and make sense of all of it. It’s an extremely engaged, really fun... (Source)

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Here Is New York

Perceptive, funny, and nostalgic, E.B. White's stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America's foremost literary figures. The New York Times has named Here is New York one of the ten best books ever written about the metropolis, and The New Yorker calls it "the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city. less
Recommended by Ben Greenman, and 1 others.

Ben GreenmanBecause I’m a writer, I think this is a very important city for writers—and because I work at the New Yorker, I think it’s a very important city for certain kinds of writers. This book was part of a travel series, for which they had reporters and editors try to corral writers and have them talk about their travel. They might take Paul Bowles to northern Africa, for instance, and he’d guide them... (Source)

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New York Look Book

A Gallery Of Street Fashion

Recommended by Ben Greenman, and 1 others.

Ben Greenman‘Look Book’ is a feature that New York magazine ran for five, six years. This is a very active, vibrant city where a lot of things are happening, but two of the biggest industries are, of course, publishing and fashion. So, how people dress in the city, and the way they think they’re presenting themselves, is always a big deal. (I work in the Condé Nast building, and it’s a big deal here in the... (Source)

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Time Out New York

The ultimate guide to an ever-changing city, the book covers every section of New York, from swanky Museum Mile to the now-fashionable Meatpacking District. Illustrated chapters and delightful walks, mapped point-to-point, celebrate the city s fascinating history and architecture. Exhaustive, unbiased local reviews detail the hippest hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, and shops. less
Recommended by Ben Greenman, and 1 others.

Ben GreenmanThis guidebook has a good mix of attitude and nice photography, and it also does something which some other books don’t do, because they are more staid or institutional: it finds some of the smaller places that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of, like clubs and less well-known galleries. There is a kind of big-lumbering-elephant way of doing the city, which is visiting the Met, Central Park, the... (Source)

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Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the twentieth century, The Power Broker is a huge and galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York in the twentieth century.

Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders knew: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of his time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling...

Barack ObamaHe may have the country’s finest experts at his fingertips, but it still doesn’t hurt to read up on environmental and economic issues. (Source)

Ryan HolidayIt took me 15 days to read all 1,165 pages of this monstrosity that chronicles the rise of Robert Moses. I was 20 years old. It was one of the most magnificent books I’ve ever read. Moses built just about every other major modern construction project in New York City. The public couldn’t stop him, the mayor couldn’t stop him, the governor couldn’t stop him, and only once could the President of... (Source)

Ben GreenmanWell, if you look at a picture of a place, you can normally get a sense of what it’s like. But hopefully what books do, or what thinking does, is to show you what that place is like underneath. The Power Broker is the definitive history of how, in modern America, cities get built, power gets thrown around, neighbourhoods are overpowered by developers and politicians. It’s gigantic and it’s a... (Source)

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