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Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans

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  • Posted November 22, 2012

    Fantastic book, everything considered! Now for a little bit mor

    Fantastic book, everything considered!

    Now for a little bit more detail. . .

    This seems to be a more professionally typeset version then the last version of this book.
    I applaud the new owners/editors/"updaters" for their stated desire to keep this book current
    and continue to improve it in the future.

    However, there are a couple of glaring errors that I've come across and I've only skimmed the new version.

    The 13th edition from the previous publisher - the edition immediately prior to this one - was very poorly
    updated. It had been advertised as a "post-Katrina" version. Yet the only new text other then a couple of
    paragraphs listing an additional mayor or two, was a hastily added appendix about hurricane history whose
    typeset didn't even match the rest of the text.

    It didn't even have direct comment from the author and had obviously just been thrown onto the end of the
    book in order to be able to sell a "post-Katrina" version.

    To the new editors/owners/"updaters" credit they have fixed that and commented on the subject on their own.

    They've also added some new information in the last couple of chapters of the book covering the last several years.

    However, they have made some glaring mistakes in their appendices.

    Most notably, in the last edition's appendix of Louisiana Governors, Louisiana's most famous and notable
    governor, the Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 was correctly named as Huey P. Long.

    The updaters/editors have changed that information and would have us believe his name was HENRY P. Long!!!

    There are other errors in that same appendix as well as in at least one other appendix. Sections that should
    be very helpful now contradict the otherwise correct text within the book's chapters, and introduced errors
    that didn't exist in the last edition!

    There are about a dozen things in the chapters of the book that I was looking forward to and hoping would be fixed by
    this edition. I'll be checking on those in the next couple of days and keep my fingers crossed.

    Many of those issues were not glaring errors. They had to do with poor choices made by the original authors.

    For instance, at one point the author talks about a national historic landmark and instead of listing it's
    address - references the name of a private business that went out of business years ago.

    Also, Chapter Seven has never had any business being stuck in the middle of the book - along with the photosection that
    immediately follows it - that chapter and section should be moved to be the last part of the text; immediately preceeding
    the Appendices after the current last chapter of the book.

    Having said all this, there is still a ton of incredible information in this book.

    The two authors' genuine love for the city is evident throughout the work.

    The original authors' personnae come across in a pleasurable, enjoyable manner. The book should have been edited
    better at a basic level 30 years ago, but there is still the bones of a great book here.

    Most of what is wrong with it can be fixed rather easily by a professional historical editor and are not major issues.

    You can learn a ton of information about New Orleans here in a very relatively small number of pages.

    It's a gem of a book that just needs a bit more polishing.

    I applaud the new owners for buying the rights and hope they'll stay committed to making it even better in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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