In A Burglar’s Guide to the City Geoff Manaugh takes a look at architecture through the eyes of a burglar, positing that those looking to surreptitiously enter buildings see and make use of the built environment in a fundamentally different way to the rest of us. In exhaustively chronicling the ways various thieves—some successful, many not—have exploited and reimagined the architectural world around them, Manaugh traces the history of heists from Houdini to the Hole in the Ground Gang.
The book is quick off the mark to link architecture and burglary and sets the tone with the tale of George Leonidas Leslie, a 19th century architect who used his knowledge of buildings to break into them. From panic rooms and casino floors to freeways and tunnels, Manaugh goes on to bring every imaginable form of the built environment into his analysis. Overall A Burglar’s Guide to the City is a well-tempered mix of architectural theory and crime history with good dose of journalistic legwork.