The Bones of the Earth

The Bones of the Earth

by Howard Mansfield

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Overview

In this graceful collection, Howard Mansfield looks anew at the New England region he's called home for over twenty years. He studies the beautiful stonework of granite bridges with a local expert; contemplates the deserted second and third stories of the old mercantile buildings that populate New England's towns and cities; and considers the cemeteries and roadside shrines that punctuate the landscape. Each exploratory adventure is written with Mansfield's typical wit and passion in prose so smooth that the deeper questions he raises appear with startling poignancy. How do our local landmarks narrate the past? What is history? Should we — can we — preserve its artifacts for the future? A kind of elegy for the built environment and dying customs of New England life, these essays will challenge anyone's notions of home, history, and the future that jeopardizes both.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013075047
Publisher: Howard Mansfield
Publication date: 08/31/2004
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 184
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

“Howard Mansfield has never written an uninteresting or dull sentence. All of his books are emotionally and intellectually nourishing,” said the writer and critic Guy Davenport. “He is something like a cultural psychologist along with being a first-class cultural historian. He is humane, witty, bright-minded, and rigorously intelligent. His deep subject is Time: how we deal with it and how it deals with us.”

Mansfield is the author of six books, including The Bones of the Earth, In the Memory House, and The Same Ax, Twice, which The New York Times said was “filled with insight and eloquence. A memorable, readable, brilliant book on an important subject. It is a book filled with quotable wisdom.” Mansfield is also the editor of the Where the Mountain Stands Alone (UPNE 2006) and two forthcoming children’s books.

For The Bones of the Earth, Mansfield was a tourist of the near-at-hand, exploring the corner of New Hampshire that he has lived in for the last twenty years. Seeking out magnificent elms, he trespassed, and with the cover of a friend and photographer (who is a professional in conflict resolution) he loitered gathering the reactions of passersby. With an old trapper, he enjoyed long winter hikes, one of which ended in a tumble over a five-story icy bobcat ledge. And with an architect schooled in the workings of Las Vegas, he toured a commercial strip, trying to see it with fresh eyes. Other journeys took him back 10,000 years to the bottom of a glacial lake that is now a city, and to the deserted second and third floors of old mercantile buildings in towns and small cities.

Writing about preservation, architecture and American history, Mansfield has contributed to The New York Times, American Heritage, The Washington Post, Historic Preservation, Yankee and other publications. Mansfield has explored issues of preservation in five books, including In the Memory House, of which The Hungry Mind Review said, "Now and then an idea suddenly bursts into flame, as if by spontaneous combustion. One instance is the recent explosion of American books about the idea of place…. But the best of them, the deepest, the widest-ranging, the most provocative and eloquent is Howard Mansfield’s In the Memory House.”

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