Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyWritten by the director of the Smithsonian's museum of American history, this is a wonderfully readable, leisurely, revelatory social history of preCivil War buildings, the dreams they embodied and the people who built and financed them. Kennedy shows that Southern planters, anxious over slave unrest, hesitated to adopt the open style of Palladio's villas for their security-conscious plantations. In Dutch Colonial brickwork of New Amsterdam he observes an upstart landed gentry's recycling of medieval merchant symbols. With respect for Jeffersonian democracy, he questions ``Ideological Classicism,'' whose exponents built Greek Revival temples overlooking exploitative, sooty mills. As he meanders from a Nashville wood-frame farmhouse, testament to westward migration, to William LeDuc's Gothic villas in Minnesota, to the ``brick cube'' houses of countless solid citizens, our architectural history is humanized and brought down to earth. Nearly 300 photographs and sketches recreate a forgotten landscape. First serial to American Heritage, Cosmopolitan and House & Garden. January 29
Library JournalKennedy provides an overview of the evolution of American architecture from its colonial beginnings to the eve of the Civil War. The rich narrative traces the dominant architectural styles as reflected in the homes of prominent families, the patrons of architecture. Kennedy mixes architecture, economics, and history to create an engrossing social history. He sketches the transfer of a European architectural heritage and the later development of an American architecture in relation to the role of the men and, to a lesser extent, the women who were intrinsically involved. The book is enhanced by over 250 illustrations of the individuals and structures that dominated American architecture of this period. Highly recommended for most academic and public libraries. Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 1st ed
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