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Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings

A Life in Construction

Samuel C. Florman

Thomas Dunne Books

Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings is an engaging memoir about one man's career in construction--rising to the top of an industry renowned for crime, corruption, violence, physical danger, and the chronic risk of financial catastrophe. Starting in the Navy Seabees at the end of WWII, Samuel C. Florman made his way as a general contractor in New York City through the period of explosive development, private exuberance and the historic growth of publicly supported housing--all amidst the rise of the notorious Mafia families,
and evolution of the Civil Rights Movement. His storied career brought him into contact with a variety of personalities: politicians and civil servants, developers and technocrats, saintly do-gooders and corrupt rapscallions. Along with the rousing adventures there were satisfactions of a different sort:
the enchantment of seeing architecture made real; the pride of creating housing, hospitals, schools, places of worship--shelter for the body and nourishment for the spirit.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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ONE      I Can Have You Killed for Fifty

THE CRIME TOOK PLACE in the Bronx on the northeast corner of Claflin Avenue and 195th Street. The perpetrators stood on the sidewalk adjoining a nearly completed six-story apartment house that my construction firm was building. When I arrived on the scene, three men were engaged in animated conversation. The masonry subcontractor, Lou, was pleading with a city inspector to grant him “just a few more minutes,” and our construction superintendent, Norman, was saying something like “jeez, give the guy a
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REVIEWS

Praise for Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings

Reviews of THE EXISTENTIAL PLEASURES OF ENGINEERING:

"Clear, erudite, and occasionally eloquent, a useful read for engineers given to self-scrutiny and a stimulating one for the layman interested in the ancient schism between machines and men's souls."--Time

"Mr. Florman, an engineer, has a gift for prose and is, besides, a kindly, clear thinker."--The New Yorker

"Gracefully written. . .Refreshing and highly infectious enthusiasm. . .Imaginatively engineered."--The New York Times Book Review

Reviews of THE EXISTENTIAL PLEASURES OF ENGINEERING:

"Clear, erudite, and occasionally eloquent, a useful read for engineers given to self-scrutiny and a stimulating one for the layman interested in the ancient schism between machines and men's souls."--Time

"Mr. Florman, an engineer, has a gift for prose and is, besides, a kindly, clear thinker."--The New Yorker

"Gracefully written. . .Refreshing and highly infectious enthusiasm. . .Imaginatively engineered."--The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Samuel C. Florman

  • Samuel C. Florman is the chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company. He has published six books and over 250 articles and has written numerous reviews for The New York Times Book Review.  He has spoken at many engineering schools and discussed professional topics on television and radio.

  • Samuel C. Florman Cetera
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Available Formats and Book Details

Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings

A Life in Construction

Samuel C. Florman

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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