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Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City Hardcover – 7 Oct 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (7 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781681295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781681299
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 297,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR"Urban exploration is... a way of renegotiating reality, transforming the moment, turning the city into a video game. Except that, in this game, you only have one life."--"Evening Standard""A unique and electrifying travelogue ... Garrett and his fellow travelers are as fit, agile and fearless as ninja."--"Booklist", Starred Review"For Garrett, physical exploration is merely the outward manifestation of a deeper philosophical inquiry. The theoretical DNA of much of his work traces back to the concept of 'psychogeography.'"--"GQ""An absorbing read ... Recommended for travel and modern history readers."--"Library Journal"

“Volatile and extraordinary ... a gonzo road trip.” – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian


“It’s hard not to admire these explorers. Or Garrett himself, who says he wrote part of the book on a laptop while sitting in a crane overlooking Aldgate East.” – Sukhdev Sandhu, The Financial Times


“[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places.” – Rowan Moore, Observer


“A no-nonsense, high-adrenaline, fast-twitch report that requires us to think about the city in new ways. This is a provocative challenge to received dogma. An inspiration to get out there, to go over the fence. To see with our own eyes.” – Iain Sinclair, author of London Orbital


“Urban exploration is... a way of renegotiating reality, transforming the moment, turning the city into a video game. Except that, in this game, you only have one life.” – Evening Standard


“For Garrett, physical exploration is merely the outward manifestation of a deeper philosophical inquiry. The theoretical DNA of much of his work traces back to the concept of “psychogeography."”
– GQ


“As the Earth becomes urban so explorers increasingly shift from the frontiers of ice and desert to the vast yet hidden domains of cities that remain curiously invisible in plain site. Explore Everything is the indispensable guide to this burgeoning world of urban exploration. It opens up the vast realms of our cities remain out-of-bounds -- the tunnels, bunkers, towers, sewers, stadia and more. With stunning clarity and visual power, it reveals the dank, dark and dangerous places that stalk both our urban imaginations and our visions of what a contemporary city might actually be. An extraordinary and important book.” – Stephen Graham


“When reading this wonderfully crafted text, it is apparent early on that Explore Everything is a vehicle for the spectacular. It contains exhilarating passages that decry the enforced striation of contemporary urbanism. It is a call to arms to not accept the city as spectacle, but to overcome the existing logic of the capitalist city and actively re-appropriate space.” – Antipode


“Garrett’s book, and its excellent photography, makes clear that urban exploration manages to combine both vertigo and claustrophobia, with people perched on beams hundreds of feet above the city, trapped in elevators, and outrunning rapidly rising sewage. It also bears the mark of its origins as a doctoral thesis, with frequent references to Guy Debord and the theories of various philosophically minded geographers. It’s sort of like Jon Krakauer meets Gilles Deleuze, or a really adventurous W.G. Sebald.” – Josh Dzieza, The Daily Beast

“A unique and electrifying travelogue ... Garrett and his fellow travelers are as fit, agile and fearless as ninja.” – Booklist, Starred Review


“An absorbing read … Recommended for travel and modern history readers.” – Library Journal

About the Author

Bradley L Garrett is a writer, photographer and researcher in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. After studying anthropology at the University of California, Riverside and working in Australia, Mexico and Hawaii as an archaeologist, Brad became an urban explorer, photographing off-limits urban spaces in the UK, Europe and America. His exploits have been featured in GQ Magazine, the Guardian, the Red Bulletin, and on TV and radio around the world. Details of his recent research and media projects and a list of current publications can be found at www.bradleygarrett.com.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First up, 'Explore Everything' is an exhilarating first-person account of 3-4 years exploring London and beyond, all ingenious plans, dizzying heights, run-ins with security and general jaw-dropping derring do. (The Forth Rail Bridge climb terrified me.) Brad tells a yarn with panache and wears his emotions on his sleeve - the excitement, the fear, the come-down.

The book's full of photography from the explorations, which really helps imagine where they've been (and just what the difference is between a storm drain and a super-sewer). And from them you can also understand what motivates people to go urban exploring in the first place - the different perspective on the city (and, perhaps, yourself too).

So secondly 'Explore Everything' is an entreaty to imagine the city anew. The language is evocative, even exciting - it's out to make you feel as well as think. "Urban exploration stimulates an awareness that the city is more like a sponge than a solid mass of paved streets and architecture, more like a body than a machine. Cities are spikes and sinkholes; the surface is porous. The bloodstream of the city becomes a conduit for shock and wonder in infinite doses." (p. 175)

'Explore Everything' is also an ethnography of an urban exploration crew: how the group came together, gained rivalries, bonded through shard adversity, and then ultimately drifted apart. This is a bit more academic in tone - it's asking "anthropologist" questions rather than just "explorer" ones. So if that's your background you can read it for an ultra-participatory take on "participant observation", and a complex ethical field of research. If that's not your background - well, Brad's essentially just talking about relationships between people: group dynamics, egos and arguments.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting book. It is written in the style of an undergraduate paper (I know as I mark these), with much attempted explanations of the emotional and psychological motivations behind Urban Explorers. This made it quite hard reading at times. And dare I say, a little boring.

Although not a 'coffee table' book it contains lots of high quality photographs but many (if not most) seem to be pictures taken from the top of tall buildings at night. I am sure each photo holds many memories for the author fighting to obtain the position so they may be taken, but for the reader, they are just skyline pictures. And other photos (such as some of the hidden London Underground) are not very good. A few however were outstanding and interesting.

In summary, I mostly enjoyed this book, but I was not gripped as I imagined I would be. It is a book of two halfs: the first discussing in detail the history and motivations of UE, the latter giving more detail of the challenges of individual explorations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first book that has driven me to write a review here on amazon. Other reviews recommended buying the hard copy book rather than the kindle version as the pictures are just incredible.

The writing is enthralling, thought provoking, and above all something I will go back to time and time again as this book takes a pride of place on my bookshelf ready for further delving on cold winter nights.

A truly inspiring, and brilliant book - with the most amazing photo's - brilliant.
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By therealus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
In Exploring Everything, Bradley Garrett takes us into a world normally concealed from the majority of people behind fences, heavy doors or plates and security guards. Garrett and his fellow place hackers pursue the primordial urge to explore armed with cameras, imagination and no small quantities of courage and chutzpah, scaling the heights and plumbing the depths of the urban built environment. The resulting photographs on their own are a stunning document of the sights available to us in cities around the world. In London he and his crew explore both the lofty, including the then in-progress Shard, and the low, finding their way into not only abandoned tube tunnels and stations but also the deep level chambers beneath telephone exchanges, and taking an unscheduled ride on the subterranean Mail Rail.

As a work of ethnography, Garrett's writings compare well with those of Sudhir Venkatesh, whose own explorations have taken him into the world of drug dealers (in Gang Leader For A Day, and his work also features in Freakonomics) and prostitution (Floating City). Both authors, in different ways, put themselves well beyond the edge of comfort, often finding their personal safety compromised in different ways. Both also demonstrate the reflexivity necessary of any field researcher, frequently questioning their role in their chosen field, their own effects upon it, and their motivations.

Garrett, however, takes participant observation to a whole new level, not only tagging along with his subjects but also taking a leading role in organisation, planning and implementation of the place hacks.
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