ATG Book of the Week: Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library

by | Jun 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Patience-and-Fortitude1-235x274Title: Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library
Author: Scott Sherman
ISBN: 9781612194295, $25.95

Imprint: Brooklyn: Melville House, 2015

In a series of cover stories for The Nation magazine, journalist Scott Sherman uncovered the ways in which Wall Street logic almost took down one of New York City’s most beloved and iconic institutions: the New York Public Library.

In the years preceding the 2008 financial crisis, the library’s leaders forged an audacious plan to sell off multiple branch libraries, mutilate a historic building, and send millions of books to a storage facility in New Jersey. Scholars, researchers, and readers would be out of luck, but real estate developers and New York’s Mayor Bloomberg would get what they wanted.

But when the story broke, the people fought back, as famous writers, professors, and citizens’ groups came together to defend a national treasure.

Rich with revealing interviews with key figures, Patience and Fortitude is at once a hugely readable history of the library’s secret plans, and a stirring account of a rare triumph against the forces of money and power.



“Gripping…a slim, smart book packed with a colorful cast of moguls, celebrities, intellectuals and Internet crusaders… Patience and Fortitude not only tells a classic ’New York story’ about real estate and money, but also shines a light on why libraries, as physical repositories for books, are still crucial, even in an age when all knowledge seems just a mouse-click away.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”


“A major feat of reporting and a must-read for New Yorkers.”
—Vanity Fair, Must-Read June Books


“The fate of one of the world’s foremost research libraries is at the center of Sherman’s rippingly-good Patience & Fortitude. The machinations of what goes on behind closed library doors, and the underdog activists who fought on behalf of literary lions, might not sound riveting. Trust an NYPL regular, at under 200 pages, Sherman’s book reads like the best of intrigue-filled political thrillers. All the Librarian’s Men.”


“Its lesson…resonates beyond those closed doors and the city they’re a part of.”
—Maclean’s (Canada)

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