American Places: Encounters with History




Author: William E. Leuchtenburg
Type: eBook
Date Released: 2000
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 416
Isbn10 Code: 019513026X
Isbn13 Code: 9780195130263


Amazon.com Review The events of the past, writes noted historian , come alive when we encounter them "on the ground." Pickett's charge and Joshua Chamberlain's defense of Little Round Top, for instance, take on a tangible immediacy when we walk through the fields of Gettysburg, just as the Allied landings at Omaha Beach look that much more astonishing when we see for ourselves the daunting landscape of Normandy. More than that, the places to which a society attaches itself--cemeteries, monuments, museums, and stadiums, to name just a few--reveal much about that society, and it is for that reason that ever more historians are turning to the study of place as a vehicle into the past. In this volume, Leuchtenburg and more than two dozen of his colleagues consider American places, ranging from iconographic centers, such as Boston Common and Graceland, to lesser-known venues like Barre, Vermont, and Woodside, California. Leuchtenburg himself writes of his hometown of Queens, where history is busily writing itself today as immigrant groups forge a multi-ethnic community much different from the days of yore. The opening essay even addresses the place that is no place--namely, cyberspace--but that is also distinctly American, a frontier whose boundaries are unknown. Readers with an interest in history and cultural geography alike will find much of value in these pages. --Gregory McNamee From Library Journal This collection of essays is a tribute to longtime Oxford University Press editor Sheldon Meyer. Edited by New Deal historian Leuchtenburg (history, Univ. of North Carolina; The FDR Years), it gathers essays by nearly 30 well-known American historians, who reflect on personal encounters with historic places. The places range from cyberspace to Elvis's Graceland, and the writing varies from warm, personal reminiscences to dry, academic narratives. The most successful pieces weave the passion of personal discovery into the fabric of historical fact, allowing readers a glimpse of what drives historians to delve into the past. Essays like T.H. Breen's on a long-forgotten Massachusetts slave and James M. McPherson's sketch of Gettysburg remind us that history is found in places great and small. Other passages mourn the loss of historic districts and sports parks. Race and the South figure prominently in many of the essays. While this book might appeal to history buffs, it will be of interest chiefly to other historians. Recommended for academic libraries.DDuncan Stewart, State Historical Society of Iowa Lib., Iowa City Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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