Philippe Petit: Photo Matthew Bannister & Keith Bomely ©DBOX

Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit (b. 1949) is a French high-wire artist whose celebrated walk between the Twin Towers was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary Man on Wire and the feature film The Walk. He is also the author of Why Knot?, To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers, and Creativity: The Perfect Crime.

On the High Wire

Literature by Philippe Petit

Translated from the French by Paul Auster

In this poetic handbook, written when he was just twenty-three, the world-famous high-wire artist Philippe Petit offers a window into the world of his craft. Petit masterfully explains how preparation and self-control contributed to such feats as walking between the towers of Notre Dame and the World Trade Center. Addressing such topics as the rigging of the wire, the walker’s first steps, his salute and exercises, and the work of other renowned high-wire artists, Petit offers us a book about the ecstasy of conquering our fears and reaching for the stars.…
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I salute you, Philippe, the Fragile Man of the Wire, the Emperor of the Air. Like Fitzcarraldo you are one of the ever so rare and wondrous men: a Conquistador of the Useless. I bow my head in reverence.
—Werner Herzog
What most recommends On the High Wire is the voice of its author. Petit’s style, true to his title of the Magician of High Altitudes, captivates.
The Brooklyn Rail
An inspiration to all who dare to dream of the seemingly impossible.
—Mikhail Baryshnikov
Philippe Petit is an artist whose theater is the sky.
—Robin Williams
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