...devious misuses of the city’s buildings and infrastructure are the focus of this highly original book ... There are some wonderful anecdotes in Manaugh’s book, such as the hapless burglar who phoned the police when he became convinced someone else was robbing the house he was burgling. Another burglar cut his way through the plasterboard walls of an entire Baltimore block ... praise for Die Hard reveals the playfulness at the heart of Manaugh’s book, which is also a feature of his acclaimed architectural website BLDGBLOG. The purpose here is not to celebrate burglars as urban superheroes, 'dark lords of architectural analysis'. For the most part, he concludes, they’re simply 'assholes' who wreck lives as well as buildings. But in Manaugh’s hands the burglar becomes a wonderful metaphor for a new way of seeing architecture and the city: as 'a spatial puzzle waiting to be solved.'
I cannot think of a more informed, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable tour guide through the historical and contemporary intersection of burglary and architecture than Geoff Manaugh. A Burglar’s Guide to the City makes disparate connections seem obvious in hindsight, and my worldview is altered a little bit more, and far for the better, as a result.
In a book this delirious with ideas, a few land more firmly than others. It may not be literally true that '[b]urglars are as much a part of architecture as the buildings they hope to break into,' but it’s hard to argue with Manaugh’s contention that burglary is 'a new science of the city, proceeding by way of shortcuts, splices, and wormholes.'”