"A fascinating take on 'the search for memory' and how certain places have come to symbolize deep American principles." —Kirkus Reviews
"This inspiring guide includes places everyone means to go to some day. . . . Mr. Zinsser personalizes each place, giving its history and adding his own keen observations." —New York Times
Join William Zinsser as he visits sixteen of our nation's most treasured historic sites — unlearning cliched assumptions and rediscovering fundamental truths about America. American Places — and the ideals that Zinsser discovers these places represent — will never go out of fashion.
"Speaking across the centuries with stone and symbol, narrative and myth, America's iconic places remind us of our anchoring principles and best intentions. 'This is where we started and what we believed and who we hoped to become,' these places say. At least that's what they said to me."
"Niagara Falls existed only in the attic of my mind where collective memory is stored: scraps of songs about honeymooning couples, vistas by painters who tried to get the plummeting waters to hold still, film clips of Marilyn Monroe running for her life in Niagara, odds and ends of lore about stuntmen who died going over the falls, and always, somewhere among the scraps, a boat called Maid of the Mist, which took tourists . . . where? Behind the falls? Under the falls? Death hovered at the edge of the images in my attic, or at least danger. But I had never thought of going to see the place itself. That was for other people. Now I wanted to be one of those other people." —from American Places
"American Places paints vivid word pictures that put you in those places and make you feel that you"ve been there, but it also encourages each of us to take our own trek through history." —Riverside Press-Enterprise
"Zinsser's choices and descriptions are refreshing because of the obvious thought that went into the selections. It's also fun to read Zinsser's observations." —Chicago Tribune
William Zinsser is a lifelong journalist and nonfiction writer—he began his career on the New York Herald Tribune in 1946—and is also a teacher, best known for his book On Writing Well, a companion held in affection by three generations of writers, reporters, editors, teachers, and students. His 17 other books range from memoir (Writing Places) to travel (American Places), jazz (Mitchell & Ruff), American popular song (Easy to Remember), baseball (Spring Training) and the craft of writing (Writing to Learn). During the 1970s he was at Yale University, where he was master of Branford College and taught the influential nonfiction workshop that would start many writers and editors on their careers. He has taught at the New School, in New York, his hometown, and at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.