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Publisher's Summary

Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again.

At the core of A Burglar's Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: how any building transforms when seen through the eyes of someone hoping to break into it. Studying architecture the way a burglar would, Geoff Manaugh takes listeners through walls, down elevator shafts, into panic rooms, up to the buried vaults of banks, and out across the rooftops of an unsuspecting city.

With the help of FBI special agents, reformed bank robbers, private security consultants, the LAPD Air Support Division, and architects past and present, the book dissects the built environment from both sides of the law. Whether picking padlocks or climbing the walls of high-rise apartments, finding gaps in a museum's surveillance routine or discussing home invasions in ancient Rome, A Burglar's Guide to the City has the tools, the tales, and the X-ray vision you need to see architecture as nothing more than an obstacle that can be outwitted and undercut.

Full of real-life heists both spectacular and absurd, A Burglar's Guide to the City ensures that listeners will never enter a bank again without imagining how to loot the vault or walk down the street without planning the perfect getaway.

©2016 Geoff Manaugh (P)2016 Random House Audio

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Story

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  • Story
  • Phillip
  • Laramie, WY, United States
  • 04-18-16

A Complete Mess

Would you try another book from Geoff Manaugh and/or Scott Aiello?

I would not try another book by the author. The book is poor on several levels. The structure of the book is a mess, and the topics discussed in it seem to be haphazardly put together in a scattershot method. The author also goes off on several long digressions that at times only slightly relate to the actual topic of the book. Two examples of this would be the overly long section at the beginning with the LAPD helicopter patrol, and later with the long trip down the rabbit hole of lock-picking; the latter of these two seems like it would directly have to do with burglary, except the author and those he interviewed explicitly restate again and again that lock-pickers are not burglars. That leads me to my next point, which is the insufferable amount of redundancy in this book. The author repeats the same points over and over again. Finally, the author includes numerous examples of successful burglaries and failures, but nearly every time only provides half of the story, leaving out critical, basic story-telling information, constantly leaving me thinking, "okay, where is the rest of story." The author states in the book that it took two and half years to research this book, but most of it feels like it was researched through Wikipedia and Google News searches. This book might work with a serious reedit, but in its current state, it interminable. I have the distinct feeling that this book started out as something different, and then someone slapped a catchy title on it, promising something it really does not deliver.

Has A Burglar's Guide to the City turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not necessarily, but I'll be more cautious next time in choosing something in this genre.

Have you listened to any of Scott Aiello’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Scott Aiello's performance was fine. His character voices seemed pretty generic, but it is not like he was given much to work with here.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The panic room and lock-picking sections were interesting, but they do not necessarily work overall very well in this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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the opening story was good but

the remainder of the book was a compilation of verbose descriptions of architecture and seemingly trivial comparisons of whether or not specific types of architecture contributed to or protected against burglary

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A very entertaining look at architecture

I really enjoyed this book, with its stories of master burglars and their cat-and - mouse game with police. So interesting. And very well told.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Reads like a movie pitch...

Is there anything you would change about this book?

In a reasonable world the author would have written this material as a film pitch, directly and for that purpose. But, in the world of pre-published galleys frequently being optioned for film rights, the author is shrewd in his approach. The perceived prestige of producing material based on a book, unfairly or not, makes a film deal more likely because it's seen as a safer bet than a script. And for an executive in the tenuous position of approving a project, they need all the safety they can get! I don't blame 'em.

Would you recommend A Burglar's Guide to the City to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, great story!

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Mazel Tov!

  • Overall
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thoughtful

the book was thoughtful, somewhat repetitive and foe by he most part objective
the end was a bit opinionated for me

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A little repetitive on some points still good

I found it a good starting point to learn more, and the book has places and suggestions for where to continue you research. Mostly though I would have liked a little more technical detail.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A blunt instrument on a subject begging for a scalpel

I was excited for this book based on the concept alone. The result is good, but Manaugh moves through the subject matter like a freight train. I'd hoped for more detail, a more patient discussion of the heists, so many of which he only teases. A fun discussion to tickle the imagination with just enough detail to make you look for more resources in the field.

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too long

Wonderful details from historical burglaries were incredibly interesting, however, it could have been easily much shorter. While its cliche, judicial editing was needed.

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 04-25-16

interesting view of crime...from the outside in

Helpful survey of how the bad guys view buildings as opportunities. They see riches where we see walls and windows. Most interesting was when the author filled us in on the role of police helicopters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful