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Posted May 13, 2002
Sometimes a book really does work on many levels: you begin with one impression, find your feelings shift during the book and when you reflect on it later you see it in yet another light. Henderson has written such a book. At first glance, Henderson's book appears to be 'an odd amalgam' of photos and bits of information about Columbus. After an initial flip through the pages I was almost unsure where to start, jumping to photos of the familiar Ohio Penitentiary, where I discovered the second 'level' of Henderson's book. It is filled with photos not only of how these building once were, but also (in the case of many of those that still stand) how they are now. It is quite interesting to see photos of these buildings in their former grandeur as well as in their current and sadly decrepit state. The ratio of now-to-then photos appears to be 70-30, though a quick search on the web for 'forgotten ohio' brought me to Henderson's web site, which has the opposite ratio and is a fine (and free) companion to the book, though the book stands quite well on its own. After paging through the book searching out the interesting present day photos, I went back to the beginning and read it straight through. That is when I really began to understand the beauty of Henderson's book: it tells the very interesting (and universal) story of a town that is so consumed with having what every other town has that it knocks down and builds over those things which made it special, but he does so in the most subtle of ways. Henderson rarely editorializes, instead he presents things as they were and as they are and lets the reader decide which is better. It is a well-executed example of an objective work from which a reader cannot help but find personal meaning. The book flows remarkably well for a book primarily composed of photographs, as the transition from one photo to the next is almost seamless. This is as much a page-turner as any collection of photos I have ever seen. Henderson's style is crisp and clear, the captions are interesting and sufficently descriptive and the photos well laid out, though all black & white (which works in terms of keeping continuity throughout the book, though I do admit I like color photos). The book's size and content make it a fitting addition to a living room end table or guest bedroom nightstand, where it should both entertain your guests and stimulate conversation. A definite must-have for Columbus readers and an interesting collection of history, trivia and photographs that I believe should appeal to many readers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.