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Tower: Faith, Vertigo, and Amateur Construction

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

By Bill Henderson
Posted January 1, 2000
Tags Alumni Books Faculty Books
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny towers to appreciate . . . All are mere pebbles on the earth's surface. It is the tall imagination that counts, in this book at least. Tower is Bill Herson's winning personal account of erecting, by hand and almost entirely on his own, a wooden tower on a plot of land in Maine. For Herson, constructing the edifice -- which he resolutely declares to have "no purpose," religious or utilitarian -- is an exercise in faith and self-reliance. Herson guides us through the details of design and construction with clear illustrations and humor, often digressing to contemplate the various towers of Yeats, Joyce, Sam Rodia, and Gustave Eiffel. The finished result is not only Herson's completed tower, in which we share an inspiring sense of accomplishment, but a revelatory insight into what motivates the builders and thinkers who precede our own efforts to gain a higher viewpoint.

Reviews

"Perhaps the gentlest, sweetest, most introspective and humblest towering achievement in the history of towering achievements." --Bill Roberts, Newsday

"A luminous achievement . . . worth its weight in gold." --John Robinson, Maine Sunday Telegram

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