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Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes

av James Conaway

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The rich American landscape, both natural and cultural, is being threatened and in some cases wiped away completely.Preservation Editor-at-Large James Conaway takes to the road inVanishing America, exploring the places, people, and traditions that have helped to shape our national identity. Part personal narrative and part travelogue, his journey offers a smart and informative account from across the country. From D.C's National Cathedral to a deserted cabin in Big Sur, from dinosaur bones in New Mexico's Bisti Badlands to the weatherworn façade of New Orleans, along the way Conaway meets cowboys, hippies, real estate developers, and many others whose stories weave into a national identity at once created, disappearing, destroyed, and continually redefined. Many of the best reflections of what the country once stood for lie around us abused, exploited, or ignored. How do we resolve the notion of preservation within a culture so dependent on growth and prosperity? With wit and acute urgency, Conaway reminds us that every bit of property, historic landmark, and distinct community, is vulnerable. These essays serve as a lament for what's being lost, a prompt for what we still have to preserve, and a celebration of our nation's unique characteristics.… (mer)
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James Conaway writes well, and he's certainly traveled around a lot.

But I only made it about a third of the way through this collection of location-based essays and reflections. It's so, so similar to a dozen -- nay, a hundred -- other books and essays and articles and podcasts and sermons and speeches and conversations over fair-trade coffee or undistinguished but hey, still totally drinkable locally-sourced wine: the real America is vanishing because big bad businesses and greedy Americans are using it all up, and if only we would just listen to some gentle yet prophetic wisdom from someone who really sees what is going on . . . .

Not recommended. ( )
1 rösta mrtall | Sep 26, 2011 |
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The rich American landscape, both natural and cultural, is being threatened and in some cases wiped away completely.Preservation Editor-at-Large James Conaway takes to the road inVanishing America, exploring the places, people, and traditions that have helped to shape our national identity. Part personal narrative and part travelogue, his journey offers a smart and informative account from across the country. From D.C's National Cathedral to a deserted cabin in Big Sur, from dinosaur bones in New Mexico's Bisti Badlands to the weatherworn façade of New Orleans, along the way Conaway meets cowboys, hippies, real estate developers, and many others whose stories weave into a national identity at once created, disappearing, destroyed, and continually redefined. Many of the best reflections of what the country once stood for lie around us abused, exploited, or ignored. How do we resolve the notion of preservation within a culture so dependent on growth and prosperity? With wit and acute urgency, Conaway reminds us that every bit of property, historic landmark, and distinct community, is vulnerable. These essays serve as a lament for what's being lost, a prompt for what we still have to preserve, and a celebration of our nation's unique characteristics.

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