The Manhattan skyline is one of the great wonders of the modern world. In Building the Skyline, Jason Barr chronicles the history of the Manhattan skyscrapers and provides insights into the economic forces that have created its distinctive and iconic panorama. Bedrock is Manhattan's natural and geological history, which influenced early land use and the development of neighborhoods, including the dense tenement neighborhoods of Five Points and the Lower East Side. Barr sheds light on why skyscrapers emerged downtown and why they appeared three miles to the north in midtown--but not in between the two areas-and debunks myths that geology was the cause. Rather, the patterns of skyscraper construction reflected economic and demographic forces at the time, which in turn influenced subsequent developments. As the first rigorous investigation of innovative ways to accommodate as many people as possible on the same location, Building the Skyline is an important contribution to understanding the growth and life of cities.