To Reach the Clouds

Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit’s smash-hit bestseller telling how he crossed between the Twin Towers by tightrope, now major movie The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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One night in 1974, a young Frenchman secretly – and illegally – rigged a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. At daybreak, he gave the high-wire performance of all time, making eight crossings over the course of an hour, 110 floors up above the earth, as a hundred thousand people gathered on the ground to watch.

In To Reach the Clouds, now filmed as The Walk, Philippe Petit re-creates a six-year quest to realise his dream, an adventure as thrilling as the walk itself. In an unforgettable memoir he tells the story of how he conspired, connived, improvised, and insisted his way to this ‘coup’, abetted by a motley crew of accomplices, the occasional miracle, and his own unflagging passion. He reveals himself to be not only a virtuoso of the air but also a bold and inspired performer on the page. Animated by never-seen photographs and Petit’s ingenious sketches, To Reach the Clouds is a tour de force of the imagination and a serenade to his beloved towers.

Critic Reviews

Breathtakingly life affirming.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

How good to remember that morning in 1974 when a young man gave New York a gift of astonishing, indelible beauty.

Paul Auster
Critic Reviews

Compelling, terrifying and beautiful.

Critic Reviews

The book is as astonishing and beautiful as the act itself . . . An act of beauty in the face of death.

The Times
Critic Reviews

It was Philippe Petit who connected the twin towers of the World Trade Center, in an act of beauty and ecstasy. Now that an act of terror has destroyed them both, his book resurrects and reunites them, in sheer defiance of gravity.

Werner Herzog
Critic Reviews

To Reach the Clouds describes an act of such spectacular defiance and lunacy that it takes your breath away.


Born into a middle-class French family in 1949, Philippe Petit taught himself magic, juggling and high-wire walking while still a child. At sixteen he began to travel the world as a street juggler. He has performed illegal high-wire walks between the towers of Notre Dame, the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the northern pylons of the Sydney…

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