Reviews

The Measure of Manhattan offers a fascinating look at a forgotten episode in American history. Marguerite Holloway brings to life the man who in a very real way made New York what it is today.”
- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes From a Catastrophe

“With the grid he laid down, John Randel Jr. transformed an island of 18th Century villages into the modern linear city—a mind-boggling achievement in ferociously meticulous surveying that reads, in The Measure of Manhattan, like a wilderness adventure, angry farmers standing in for the wild animals already hunted away. Marguerite Holloway’s portrait of the surveyor’s surveyor in his cartography-obsessed time shows us how much the physical city has changed and, most importantly, how much it hasn’t.”
- Robert Sullivan, author of My American Revolution and Rats

“As elegant as the maps it celebrates, Marguerite Holloway’s lively biography tells the story of the man who pinned a grid to Manhattan.”
- Edward Dolnick, author of The Clockwork Universe

“This outstanding history of the Manhattan grid offers us a strange archaeology: part spatial adventure, part technical expedition into the heart of measurement itself, starring teams of 19th-century gentlemen striding across the island’s eroded mountains and wild streams, implementing a grid that would soon enough sprout skyscrapers and flatirons, Central Park and 5th Avenue. Marguerite Holloway’s engaging survey takes us step by step through the challenges of obsolete land laws and outdated maps of an earlier metropolis, looking for—and finding—the future shape of this immeasurable city.”
- Geoff Manaugh - BLDGBLOG

“Marguerite Holloway has created an enchanting web of biography and science, as magical as the grid that John Randel devised to give birth to modern Manhattan.”
- Andro Linklater, author of Measuring America

“This intelligent and entirely riveting account of the brave young man who squared and sculpted Manhattan, and made famous its present street geometry, is every bit as groundbreaking a success as was his own work, two centuries before. Marguerite Holloway has uncovered in the life of John Randel Jr., a quite marvelous tale, and has told it just magnificently.”
- Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic and The Map That Changed the World