To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers

by philippe Petit | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0865476519 Global Overview for this book
Registered by R-W of Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on 1/14/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 14, 2004
I could not put this book down, i had never heard of Philippe Petit untill recently when i read a review of this book, and i never knew that anyone had dared to put a high wire between the twin towers and walk across.
Petit here tells his story of how in 1974 he did just that, against all the odds, he and a group of not always dedicated friends, devised a plan to rig up an high wire between the two towers.
Almost from the begining the idea seems doomed, but Petit never gives up hope of conquering this feat.
Reading this book, i have never shook with nervousness as much in my life, just the thought of being that high on a roof scared me, but then to actually walk across, eight times.
I pictured myself walking the wire, i pictured myself standing on the street bellow watching this crazy guy,always with the same dread, i'm glad i wasn't there that day in 1974 as i don't think i could have watched.

This book is easy to read, Petit style of writing is much like his art, faultess, and once you pick this book up you will not put it down, packed with some stunning photo's too.

Sending out on a bookring, order is as follows..
(back to me)
(back to me)

Journal Entry 2 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, April 16, 2004
Mailed to LaRue today.

Journal Entry 3 by LaRue from Medford, New York USA on Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Received today in the mail, thanks! I'm a native New Yorker and in 1974, I was 16 years old and remember Petit's walk between the Towers very well! He was one of the first people I thought of when the towers collapsed. Can't wait to read this.

Journal Entry 4 by LaRue from Medford, New York USA on Tuesday, April 27, 2004
One of the most lyric, beautifully written memoirs I have ever read. Petit tells the story of his clandestine, illegal tightrope walk between the North and South Towers in 1974 with an almost haunting style and imagery. I will be giving copies of this one as gifts.

The photo is what the Twin Towers looked like in 1974.

Journal Entry 5 by LaRue at on Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Released on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 at To a fellow bookcrosser in Medford, New York Controlled Releases.

Sending today to fellow BX'er Sherria - enjoy!

Journal Entry 6 by Sherria from Bethel, Connecticut USA on Monday, May 3, 2004
Received this today. I have a couple of other bookrings/rays that I have to finish up first, but I'll read this one as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing it!

Journal Entry 7 by Sherria from Bethel, Connecticut USA on Sunday, May 9, 2004
Received this yesterday. I have two other bookrings/rays to finish first, but I'll get to it as quickly as I can. Thanks for sharing it!

Journal Entry 8 by cytronella from Plantersville, Texas USA on Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Cool . . . just arrived today and will go to the top of the TBR pile . . . there are three bookrings with me now (yikes, two arrived today) but I'm half through one and the other will go fast, so will have this moving in the allotted month. It looks really good . . .

Journal Entry 9 by cytronella from Plantersville, Texas USA on Thursday, July 1, 2004
I remember Philippe Petits high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers as an amazing news story from my early high school years. Until I saw this bookring posted, I'd pretty much forgotten about the astonishing feat. Now, thanks to this site and robert-walker, it is all fresh again, and I am awestruck once more at the tremendous gargantuan cahones of Phillipe Petit. Not only can he rig such stage and then accomplish the walk, his writing is great! Perhaps it is the native French that makes his expression on the page so fluid and beautiful.

Here are some snippets that show the beauty I'm blabbing about:

The ants are building a sky scraper --- a skyscraper with two arms pointing at the gods.

Here and there, up and down, left and right --- meandering the path of my dreams, I often wake up lost.

Not tonight.

It's 3:00 AM and it has been decided. In my sleep. I will start walking from the south tower.

I know rigging alone with Jean-Francois will be a task of herculean proportions, but at least friendship, perseverance, and joy will float in the air.

Amid the hundred lights of dawn in the cable, in the sky, in the tower facing me, no one can name the shades that create such a celestial masterpiece.

I sit down on the wire, balancing pole on my lap. Leaning against the steel corner, I offer to myself, for a throne, the highest tower ever built by man; for a ceremonial carpet, the most savagely gigantic city of the Americas; for my dominion a tray of seas wetting my forhead; while the folds of my wind-sculpted cape surround me with majestically mortal whirls.

My eyes catch what rises in front of me: the top of the north tower.

60 meters of wire rope. The path is drawn.

It's a straight line. Which rolls on itself. Which sways. Which sags. Which vibrates.

Which is ice. Which is three tons tight. Ready to explode. To dissolve. To dissolve me. To choke me. To swallow me. To throw me silently across the void jammed between the towers.

The wire waits.

The unknown, the infinate, the joyous reaper stretches out its arms and hides its face. Its arms of thousands, tens of thousands, of tons of concrete, glass, steel and threat. A gaping mouth 110 stories deep, more than 400 meters tall.

An inner howl assails me, the eild longing to flee.

But it is too late.

The wire is ready.

My heart is so forcibly pressed against the wire, each beat echoes, echoes, and casts each approaching thought into the netherworld.

Decisively, my other foot sets itself onto the cable.

That's all the snippets of the book I can share here, but not all I recorded in my journal of beautiful words.

Thank you, Philippe Petit, for the beauty of your words and the courage of your actions. He has said he will walk between the new towers when they are built. I hope he does, and this time, I hope he doesn't have to do all the research clandestinely. I never really knew all that went into his accomplishing this, and I'm so glad I got to read this book, and learn about the man who dared.

The next reader, inquirer lives near me, and we are now planning a mini meet up to pass this book along, aiming for July 6.

Journal Entry 10 by inquirer from Spring, Texas USA on Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Recieved from cytronella at our mini-meetup. Highly recommended, wil probably be my vacation read!!

Journal Entry 11 by LaRue from Medford, New York USA on Thursday, August 19, 2004
I loved this book so much I just purchased three copies - two will be Christmas gifts to old friends, and one is for me! If anyone is interested, they were bargain priced hardcovers at amazon.

Journal Entry 12 by inquirer from Spring, Texas USA on Thursday, August 19, 2004
Excellent! I loved this book, and I will be contacting the next person in line and sending it on its way.

Journal Entry 13 by ermintrude75 from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Thursday, September 2, 2004
Just arrived! Looks exciting, can't wait to dip in... thanks!

Journal Entry 14 by ermintrude75 from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Monday, September 6, 2004
[20th Sept] OK, bizarre duplicate journal entries aside... :) I think the only word for this book is awe-inspiring. Amazing that someone could actually think to undertake this project, let alone do it. I love the description of the walk as a "gift of beauty" - it's sad to think that today's security renders an act like this virtually impossible. To get some true friends (mostly) to participate in your dream, commpletely crazy though it may be... very special. Thank you for the chance to read this book.

Journal Entry 15 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, September 23, 2004
arrived safely back in Rotherham, my first completed ring, i hope you all enjoyed the book.

Journal Entry 16 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, October 28, 2004
This book is going back out on another ring, the participants are

Now on its way to Olifant

Journal Entry 17 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Beautiful book... I am really looking forward to reading this one. Nice layout and pictures too.

This book came together with Crap Towns.

Journal Entry 18 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I am a writer in the sky

or when he is less sure about his project: I am a prisoner of my dream

A great read!
Didn’t know that the twin towers weren’t identical.
I admire his true friends, who have to endure his sometimes fanatical wishes.
And in a way Philippe Petit says: if you believe in something, you can really make it happen.

‘Why did you do it?’, the reporters chorus. I answer without thinking, ‘When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk!’

Thanks for sharing robert-walker! Will send the book to billhookbabe this week.

Journal Entry 19 by billhookbabe on Thursday, November 25, 2004
This arrived today along with a very interesting postcard and somme goodies for the kids, thanks Olifant. I have a rather large tbr rings pile at the moment but should be reading it before the end of Deember, if I can't I will pass it on. Thanks robert-walker for sharing :o)

Journal Entry 20 by billhookbabe on Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Fascinating story and of course, now never to be repeated. I found Phillipe Petit to be single minded and arrogant, traits of course needed for such outragous feats. He was also tempered with moments of doubt, the sign of a true genius. I am glad that this was released after the September 11th as there was a sense of completion to the story in light of history. I didn't go away wondering what he felt about it.

Off now to SUJIE in OZ Thanks for sharing Robert-Walker

Journal Entry 21 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Just got home to Oz to find this has arrived safely at my parents' place, thanks billhookbabe. And my father has had the cheek to read it ahead of my homecoming! He enjoyed it thoroughly and now I can get my hands on it, I hope to do the same. I'm very impressed with the condition of the book itself - the spine is holding together well with all its travels.

Journal Entry 22 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, February 5, 2005
Thanks, Robert, for the chance to read this book. I was a young art student when Petit walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge way back...
Like Billhookbabe I found Philippe to be arrogant and exacting of his friends, some of whom he inadequately acknowledges (one tiny photo of Annie below the towers, AND he was magnificently unfaithful to her!), but I particularly loved the suspenseful build-up in the last 24hours - he writes with great mastery there. The purple prose of the actual walk was less compelling for me. I must admit it was the minor characters who intrigued me...but yes, like Olifant I'll remember the lines, "When I see three oranges I juggle...."

Journal Entry 23 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, February 5, 2005
Posting to Stellertony aka Toto today. I am in Oz, as you know, so don't get too excited; it'll take a while even by air.

Journal Entry 24 by stellertony from Anchorage, Alaska USA on Saturday, February 19, 2005
Received today. Less than two weeks really isn't bad for international mail, especially getting all the way from Oz to Kansas. Except we aren't in Kansas anymore... I forgot. We're in Alaska. :)

(I am having waaay too much fun with this)

Journal Entry 25 by stellertony at on Sunday, April 17, 2005

Released 19 yrs ago (4/4/2005 UTC) at



I really enjoyed this book - it was a fast, enthralling read. I particularly liked his illustrations in the back of a possible Twin Towers redesign.

Sent to robert-walker.

Journal Entry 26 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, May 21, 2005
This book has arrived back home. Thanks to all the guys who joined this ring for reading and taking care of my book.

Journal Entry 27 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, May 23, 2005
Just mailed to Caro1

Journal Entry 28 by Caro1 from Newark On Trent, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Arrived safely today. There are 3 rings ahead of this one, but I'm a fast reader and with half-term next week, it shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for sharing robert-walker, I'm really looking forward to this.

Journal Entry 29 by Caro1 from Newark On Trent, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Friday, June 10, 2005
I was expecting to experience vertigo as I began this book, but not to be moved by the poetry of the writing. Like cytronella I found myself jotting down phrases and passages to revisit later.
Yes Petit comes across as totally single minded and infuriatingly arrogant, but I guess that's what it takes to carry out such a spectacular feat.
Heart stopping stuff!! Thanks for sharing Robert. Will return to you after the weekend.

Journal Entry 30 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, June 17, 2005
Now safely back at home, thanks to all the people who have read, and hopefully enjoyed this book, for sharing their views and for passing the book on.

Thanks Caro1 for the lovely bar of chocolate, and for the bookmark you made, this will be my new official bookmark, thanks.

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