Paul Goldberger
Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture,
and the Rebuilding of Ground Zero.
Random House, 273 pages, $24.95

No sooner had the World Trade Center been destroyed than people—politicians, the press, architects, concerned citizens—began to consider new projects for the site. Ordinarily, any development at such a scale would have been complicated enough, as these things always are in New York. But the ultimate responsibility would have devolved upon the site’s owner and/or leaseholder—respectively, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the developer Larry Silverstein.

But this project was nothing ordinary. The World Trade Center was destroyed in a gruesome act of terror intended to kill as many people as possible—indeed, to kill many more people than even the vast number killed—and to cripple the U.S. economy. Thus the...

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