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Five Best Books About Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh was twice ranked most livable in the country by and for good reason: It truly is an amazing city. From a hearty cultural heritage to abundant job prospects, a lively art scene to safety and affordability, Pittsburgh overflows with a richness and depth that other cities cannot hope to replicate. What you'll discover below are among the most popular and thoroughly researched tomes about Pittsburgh on the market.

"Pittsburgh: Then and Now" by Walter C. Kidney
Eljay's Used Books
3233 W. Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
(412) 344-7444

If you're familiar with the Then and Now series, this edition will come as a familiar treat. Walter C. Kidney has done an outstanding job taking classic Pittsburgh photographs and comparing them to the same modern image spanning decades, if not a century, of growth and change. Pittsburgh has evolved in so many ways, from hardened industrial to urban chic, and this intriguing book examines this glorious city's entire landscape from the yesterdays to today. Pick up a copy to display on your coffee table, or add to your collection of original Pittsburgh memorabilia.

"Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City" by Stefan Lorant
University of Pittsburgh Book Center
4200 5th Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 648-1455

This well-crafted and thoughtfully detailed book examines Pittsburgh's early frontier days, all the way through its evolution from steel town to modern urban paradise. Based upon years of research and a collection of more than 1,100 photographs, this book also boasts contributions from such notable historians as Oscar Handlin and Henry Steele Commager. If that's not enough, it provides an ideal history lesson for those who are only familiar with Pittsburgh's sports teams. Lorant knew most Pittsburghers' love their city and have never left and wrote this love letter to Pittsburgh bearing that in mind.

Related: 5 Must Read Books by Pittsburgh Authors

"Pittsburgh, The Greatest City in the World" by Sean Elliott Martin
Caliban Book Shop
410 S. Craig St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15130
(412) 681-9111

This next selection is a tongue-in-cheek look at what makes Pittsburgh super awesome. Don't let the title fool you, either: The authors have mixed personal experience and research to bring readers 20 of the most unique criteria that lend support to the claim Pittsburgh truly is the greatest city in the whole world. The breadth of topics covered in this book extend far beyond inane sports trivia, and include culture, industry and history knowledge for your consideration. The result is a one-of-a-kind read that gives the audience no other choice than to agree with the book's title.

"Pittsburgh: A New Portrait" by Franklin Toker 
Townsend Booksellers
4612 Henry St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 682-8030

Heralded as "ambitious and lavish" by the Wall Street Journal and "lovingly prepared and tastefully presented" by Pittsburgh Quarterly, "Pittsburgh: A New Portrait" is one book you owe it to yourself to pick up in this lifetime. Full of historical essays, detailed photos and maps, this labor of love by author Franklin Toker examines Pittsburgh's urban reinvention from its founding in 1758. Toker even includes a street-level view of every Pittsburgh neighborhood, taking the reader on a personal journey through each. Whether you're a lifelong resident or a new transplant, you'll undoubtedly learn something new about this epic city through the lens of this talented author's perspective.

"Moon Pittsburgh" by Dan Eldridge
City Books Inc.
1111 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 481-7555

If you're more interested in what there is to see and do in Pittsburgh than its beginnings, "Moon Pittsburgh" is the reading destination for you. Eldridge has compiled a great number of trip ideas in his fun, offbeat travel guide, including sections entitled Out with the Parents and Go Where the Locals Go. There's even a Q&A section that offers suggestions on the best way to spend 24 hours in Pittsburgh and places that serve the best breakfast in the city. Whether you're visiting Pittsburgh for the first time or are a native, you'll find this handy, entertaining resource invaluable when planning your next Steel City outing.

Related: Best Iconic Works of Art in Pittsburgh

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn't studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she's out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

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