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THE DEATH OF THE BIGGEST FOUNDATION


September 18, 2001

Ever since terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center in New York, Harbour author Edith Iglauer’s phone has been ringing. As a staff writer on New Yorker magazine in 1972, Iglauer reported on the construction of the World Trade Center towers when they had yet to acquire the symbolic significance that made them a target of the most catastrophic terrorist attack North America has ever experienced. Iglauer’s 29-year-old article, "The Biggest Foundation," presents a fascinating in-depth description of the site chosen for the twin towers and the massive preparations that underpinned construction of what were then the world’s two tallest buildings. In the seven years it took to research the article, Iglauer regularly met with chief engineer Jack Kyle to discuss the progress of construction and the advanced techniques builders were using. Much as Iglauer was fascinated by the construction process, she always had her reservations about the finished buildings, noting with eerie prescience that they struck her as resembling "an ornate modern tomb."

Since the tragic events of September 11, journalists around the world have been dusting off Iglauer’s fact-packed article and calling her for expert comments on the history of the now-flattened complex. She contributed her own piece recalling the early excitement surrounding the project in the September 15 issue of the Vancouver Sun and the New Yorker republished the full text of "The Biggest Foundation" in its online edition. An edited version of the article along with a sampling of writing spanning Iglauer’s remarkable career is also available in The Strangers Next Door ($14.95, Harbour).

Edith Iglauer was born in 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was inspired to become a journalist after reading The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens in college. In addition to her magazine work, Iglauer has written five books including Denison's Ice Road ($16.95, Harbour), Inuit Journey: The Co-operative Adventure in Canada's North ($18.95, Harbour), Seven Stones: A Portrait of Arthur Erickson, Architect ($16.95, Harbour) and Fishing with John ($17.95, Harbour). The latter, a documentary of Iglauer’s unlikely meeting with and marriage to west coast fisherman John Daly, has been made into a TV movie titled Navigating the Heart, starring Jaclyn Smith. Iglauer currently lives in Garden Bay, British Columbia.