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Publisher's Summary

Born to a Jewish family in Estonia in 1901 and brought to America in 1906, the architect Louis Kahn grew up in poverty in Philadelphia; by the time of his death in 1974, he was widely recognized as one of the greatest architects of his era. Yet this enormous reputation was based on only a handful of masterpieces, all built during the last 15 years of his life.

Perfectly complementing Nathaniel Kahn's award-winning documentary, My Architect, Wendy Lesser's You Say to Brick is a major exploration of the architect's life and work. Kahn, perhaps more than any other 20th century American architect, was a "public" architect. Eschewing the usual corporate skyscrapers, hotels, and condominiums, he focused on medical and educational research facilities, government centers, museums, libraries, parks, religious buildings, and other structures that would serve the public good. Yet this warm, captivating person, beloved by students and admired by colleagues, was also a secretive and mysterious character hiding behind a series of masks.

©2017 Wendy Lesser (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A splendid biography that penetrates the inner lives of Kahn's buildings as well as the inner life of their creator." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a good book on a great subject

Wendy Lesser does a fine job describing Louis Khan's personal life, and she does a great job describing his interactions with staff and other architects. She struggles, though, explaining the breakthroughs in structure and form-making that Kahn achieved.

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A book about architect needs pictures

A recorded book is not the best medium for a story that is about creating buildings. I wanted to see pictures of Kahn’s creations. However his personal story was very interesting about the three families he had and how he was a father to all his children. While all aspects of Louis Kahn’s biography were engaging, this story roamed all over his life and was a very disorganized narrative. Nonetheless I recommend the book. No matter how it’s told, his was a remarkable life and talent.