Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History

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The most visited site in the National Park system, the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway winds along the ridges of the Appalachian mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. According to popular myth, the Parkway was a New Deal "Godsend for the needy," built without conflict or opposition by landscape architects and planners who traced their uniform vision along a scenic, isolated southern landscape. The historical archives relating to this massive public project, however, tell a different story, which Anne Mitchell ...

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Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History

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Overview

The most visited site in the National Park system, the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway winds along the ridges of the Appalachian mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. According to popular myth, the Parkway was a New Deal "Godsend for the needy," built without conflict or opposition by landscape architects and planners who traced their uniform vision along a scenic, isolated southern landscape. The historical archives relating to this massive public project, however, tell a different story, which Anne Mitchell Whisnant relates in this history of the seventy-year development of the beloved roadway.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating account. . . . Insightful and elegantly written. . . . By far the most thorough and well-researched history of the Parkway to date."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Provocative and informative."
The Charlotte Observer

"[A] lucid analysis. . . . [Whisnant's] work provides vital lessons on historic and environmental preservation."
The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"An impressive documentation of the creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the resultant transfer of considerable acreage from one type of human exploitation (farming, lumber, etc.) to another type (scenic-tourism)."
Southern Cultures

"Elegantly reveals the Parkway's history. . . . Decidedly revisionist . . . presents a more complex history of the road. . . . Whisnant's engagingly written and carefully researched account brings to light a more accurate picture of how the Blue Ridge Parkway came to be while taking nothing away from the . . . site."
Appalachian Journal

From the Publisher
"Whisnant does an excellent job. . . . After reading the book, your view of Asheville might never be quite the same."—SpeedReaders.info

"A fascinating account. . . . Insightful and elegantly written. . . . By far the most thorough and well-researched history of the Parkway to date."—Georgia Historical Quarterly

"This book honestly describes the often not-so-pretty and not-so-harmonious history of a scenic parkway that seems so very pretty and harmonious today, and should engage anyone interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway and the history of the diverse region through which it passes."—Journal of Appalachian Studies

"Elegantly reveals the Parkway's history. . . . Decidedly revisionist . . . presents a more complex history of the road. . . . Whisnant's engagingly written and carefully researched account brings to light a more accurate picture of how the Blue Ridge Parkway came to be while taking nothing away from the . . . site."—Appalachian Journal

"[A] lucid analysis. . . . [Whisnant's] work provides vital lessons on historic and environmental preservation."—The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"The deliberate, scholarly work promises, in the author's words, to 'take us from a place many think they understand to one few would recognize, along a Blue Ridge Parkway almost no one knows.' Strap in and hold tight." —Mountain Xpress

"By sifting through various myths and facts, Whisnant reveals the truth behind the Parkway's seemingly undisturbed serene beauty."—Sanford Herald

"Exhaustively researched…fascinating"—Rocky Mount Telegram

"Whisnant brings the true parkway to light in a skillful demonstration of the historian's craft at the highest level of excellence—thoroughly researched, especially well documented and presented. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"This well-documented and well-researched study, often presented in strident style, provides a new perspective on the parkway's creation. . . . Super-Scenic Motorway's invaluable documentation will help readers better understand the parkway's complex development."—North Carolina Historical Review
"Historian Anne Mitchell Whisnant's Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History is a must-read for anyone who frequents the mountains."—Durham Herald-Sun

"The book strips away decades of such myth-making fostered by tourism officials and the park service and details the social, economic, and political battles that shaped a two-lane road that is the most visited place managed by the park service."—Raleigh News & Observer

"Brilliantly researched and stylishly written. . . . Readers can rest assured this enormous book packs a wallop."—Appalachian Heritage

"Whisnant tells the history, culture, and politics of building the Parkway in a readable manner."—Blue Ridge Outdoors

"[Whisnant's] research has illuminated a drama surrounding the road that speaks of battles won and lost, economic interests and government intervention. It is a story of power and class and progress that resulted in a national treasure for some and a royal pain for others."—UNC-Chapel Hill University Gazette

"[Whisnant's] knowledge of how one of the country's most celebrated roadways came to be trumps anything previously published, many times over."—Carolina Alumni Review

"[Super-Scenic Motorway] strips away decades of . . . myth-making fostered by tourism officials and the park service, and details the social, economic and political battles that shaped a two-lane road that's the most visited place managed by the park service."—Associated Press

"A definitive history. . . . We get the more colorful and interesting real story."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"An impressive documentation of the creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the resultant transfer of considerable acreage from one type of human exploitation (farming, lumber, etc.) to another type (scenic-tourism)."—Southern Cultures

"[Super Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History] is a valuable book for those of us who would understand how political and commercial pressures affected what many of us believe to be the wonders of the built world. . . . It's a well-researched, richly detailed and thoughtful examination of a monumental public works project that, for all its turmoil, turned out beautifully."-Jack Betts, Charlotte Observer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807830376
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 10/2/2006
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Mitchell Whisnant received her Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is now Director of Research, Communications, and Programs for the Office of Faculty Governance. She has served as a consultant to the National Park Service and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. More information about the book is available online at www.superscenic.com.

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