Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape” as Want to Read:
Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape

4.44  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
“Original, highly readable. . . . An extraordinary book.”—Anne Eisenberg, Scientific American

A companion to the man-made landscape that reveals how our industrial environment can be as dazzling as the natural world.
Replete with the author's striking photographs, "Infrastructure" is a unique and spectacular guide, exploring all the major "ecosystems" of our modern industri
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Infrastructure, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Infrastructure

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Chris Palazzo
Sep 22, 2008 Chris Palazzo rated it really liked it
A great read for anyone who has ever wondered about the functions of all those cables, wires, and electric doohickeys that litter our roadside landscape. What's that? You mean I'm the only one? OK, fair enough. Well, have you ever pondered how crude oil is drilled, refined, and shipped to gas stations? No? I can't be the only one. Come on, people, work with me. Seriously, this book is really interesting. Maybe I should get out more.
May 06, 2007 nathaniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nonfiction
What is this stuff? You see it out there, stewing in rust or aspirating flame into the firmament and you think to yourself, "I can barely build a deck for the back yard. I can't even identify that thing. Do people actually work there?" Finally, we have a field guide that answers these important questions.
Aaron Arnold
Oct 24, 2013 Aaron Arnold rated it it was amazing
I have fond memories of watching episodes of Mr. Rogers when I was a kid and seeing the inner workings of things like crayon factories, one of my favorite elementary school field trips was to a local power plant, and my parents learned early on that one way to get me to stop tormenting my brother was to hand me picture books on construction equipment. If you're the kind of person who's interested in machinery, factories, power plants, and all the other aspects of the modern industrial substructu ...more
Hiawatha Bray
Mar 28, 2014 Hiawatha Bray rated it it was amazing
I love to read about the mundane, grubby stuff that makes modern life possible--railroads, electrical power systems, communications networks, even water and sewer systems. This book covers them all. It's a marvelous one-volume overview of how modern infrastructure works. It's a great book for skipping around in. Just pick a section on your favorite gnarly bit of infrastructure, and prepare to be educated. It's also an excellent reference work.
Fred Rose
Definitely a techie delight. Ever wonder what all those things on a utility pole are for? What all those towers and pipes in a refinery are? Why a wind turbine looks the way it does? Many pictures, and good explanations, in depth but not too much so. I wish it was an app though, it's a big book and definitely not a field guide. It has just been updated, esp to include more communications and Internet stuff, the review in the WSJ was positive. I wish I had this book when I was a kid..
Mar 26, 2009 Reed rated it it was amazing
Few books have changed the way I look at the world as much as this book did. Utility poles suddenly became interesting. The ultimate guide book for the physical manifestation of modern civilization. Even if you hate the topic you should read this book.
Mar 30, 2008 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russ
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book to be an exhaustive (and exhausting) compendium of things industrial. It focuses on the visible infrastructure of industry--pit mines, smokestacks, water towers, dams, power transmission lines--and explains what you are seeing in the landscape, and the overall process that necessitates the feature. If you've ever traveled cross country (particularly I-40 in the Southwest) and wondered about the random industrial things you've seen along the road, this guide can help decode the ...more
Oct 30, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
A remarkable book on the network of technology that we take for granted but makes our lives infinitely easier. This is probably not an appealing book for those that lack mechanical interest but it is a treasure for those who are intensely curious about the way mechanical things function. The author makes a fascinating read of some relatively dry topics.

Since the book was written in the first years of this century the chapters on electronic and digital infrastructure are probably fairly out of da
Jul 02, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What a cool book! It reminds me of those David Macaulay books I loved exploring as a kid, but this is definitely for adults. It's not difficult to understand, but the author doesn't shy away from getting into explanations of engineering concepts and also some of the basic physics and chemistry behind energy inputs and transmission. The field guide style photos and captions are the highlight, but his writing is clear and interesting.

Of course, some things I wanted to read about (construction equi
May 18, 2013 JP rated it liked it
What are the conical structure atop flour mills and lumbermills? Why are there 3 wires running along most electric power poles? Why are TV towers red and white? Why are the blades of a windmill in the front? Hayes answers these type of questinos in this interesting book. He apparently spent about 10 years taking photos of industrial sites around the world. Here he explains what they are and why they work. His writing is also thoughtful, beginning with mining and ending with waste management, whe ...more
Aug 10, 2009 Jack is currently reading it
This is an on-again, off-again really entertaining look at the way we live in the world. It's not detailed engineering, but instead is a quick sense of how things get from one place to another -- oil to cars, coal to electric outlets, water to farms. Full of interesting stuff, and moving rapidly. Makes the car drives way more interesting -- you can go "Hey, I know what that is now!" Read a chapter, put it down for a while, read another one, enjoy the whole thing.
Brian Connell
Sep 17, 2009 Brian Connell rated it really liked it
Very interesting. Lots of good straight forward explanation about the industrial artifacts around us that make our way of life work - which we either take for granted or occasionally simply wonder about. Long. Clear. Good pictures. Only wished for the occasional diagram at times to replace the descriptions of photographs ...
Jan 13, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
It's exactly what it says it is in the title. All those structures you see off the side of the road - you will now know what they are and how they work. The author writes with a certain awe of what man hath wrought, and it's kind of unusual. He's aware enough, however, to note when his topics aren't environmentally friendly.
Aug 18, 2010 Brian rated it it was amazing
If you ever wondered what we do to make industrialized civilization possible, this is a good book to read. Ample pictures and text explain the technology that makes our lives possible, from mining to manufacturing, distribution, power, transportation, agriculture, power, communications, and much more.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Too much coffee table book here, I'm afraid. I'd rather have something that focuses more on showing me the things I might see and helping me identify them than something with as much text as there is here.
Feb 28, 2014 Logan rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating book! Read and find out what all of those giant purposeful-looking industrial buildings-n-stuff are for. My wife is excited that I'm done with this book because I couldn't stop talking about all of the neat things I learned.
James Eckman
Strictly for techno nerds, if looking at photos of industrial equipment isn't your thing, you won't like this. On the other hand, if you drive by things and wonder "What's that?" it's a nice introduction and coffee table book.
Jun 23, 2008 Kip rated it really liked it
Very clearly written. I wish it was actually sized as a field guide, though. The pictures are fantastic in large format, but it sure would be handy to have in the glove box for sorties up the Jersey Turnpike.
Jan 07, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing
If you've ever wondered about all that industrial infrastructure you see around you driving down the road, this book explains it all.
Jul 16, 2008 Pcallist rated it it was amazing
What can I say. I like a wide variety of books on a vast array of subjects. This has lots of pictures and fascinating insets.
Abhishek Rao
Oct 25, 2015 Abhishek Rao rated it liked it
Nice pictures, was amazed by the scale of mining machines. A more global perspective would have been nicer.
Angela Buffone
Aug 14, 2008 Angela Buffone is currently reading it
Reading this to prep for a class I am teaching in the fall at Suffolk University. Very interesting...
Fred Scharmen
Aug 25, 2007 Fred Scharmen rated it it was amazing
Clearly explains and illustrates the systems and forces that shape the real functionalism of industrial infrastructure. Awesome for road trips.
Jan 02, 2013 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. Have you ever wondered what all of that "junk" was out there in the world. This book may be for you.
Joe rated it it was ok
May 13, 2015
David rated it liked it
Dec 24, 2015
Honey N
Honey N rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2016
Geoff McKim
Geoff McKim rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2012
Jon Roig
Jon Roig rated it really liked it
May 07, 2014
Dave rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Works: Anatomy of a City
  • Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life
  • Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight
  • What Time Is This Place?
  • Transit Maps of the World
  • The BLDGBLOG Book
  • Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space
  • Underground
  • Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies
  • Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming
  • Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections
  • Software Takes Command
  • How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built
  • Why We Build
  • Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History
  • Clean and Decent: The Fascinating History of the Bathroom and WC
  • The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (Haymarket)
  • Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism

Share This Book