Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 1982 - History - 429 pages
"A first-rate introduction to a still largely extant North America away from the great cities. This 400-page documentary by a dedicated exploring scholar explains how and why the landscape changed between the times of the early Spanish settlers and the impact of industrialization."--House and Garden
"A remarkable book. John Stilgoe has provided us with a panorama of American land development that is unique in the literature of this filed. In the process he has sharpened the reader's perception of the historic struggle between those who would tend the land and those who would exploit it, thus making a significant statement about issues in the forefront at the present day. Stilgoe's global vision over time, combined with his remarkable facility for involving a great variety of elements into one coherent system of thought and feeling, makes this a deeply important and timely work."--Edmund N. Bacon
"Recalls how Europeans shaped this country's landscape out of wilderness and, by the way, helped to create our sense of beauty, comfort, and appropriateness...A book that will change the way its readers look about them."--The New Yorker
"Focusing on vernacular design and its evolution, Stilgoe effectively demonstrates how builders (rather than professional designers) passed on their traditions from one generation to the next--in so doing shaping America's enduring attitudes towards landscape. An original and fascinating study."--H. Ward Jandl, Library Journal
Winner of the 1982 Francis Parkman Prize for Literary Distinction in the Writing of History.
 

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This is a brilliantly conceived and rendered explanation of how America (the U.S.) came to look the way it does today. So informative is this book that it will change the way you see your surroundings. It should be read by everyone planning a road trip - or a walk to the town center.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Some useful references to surveying; an interesting book about early American landscape in general. It offers some background on colonial surveying but is more interested in the national innovations that followed.
Uses interesting phrase "common knowledge" to describe the melding of high and low understandings of landscape.
 

Contents

Wilderness
7
Roads
21
PLANTING
31
New England
43
Tidewater and Piedmont
58
NATIONAL DESIGN
85
Grid
99
Internal Improvements
107
Liberalism
212
Graveyards
219
Camp Meetings
231
Rural Churches
238
Fairs
251
ARTIFICE
264
Real de Minos
278
Mills
300

Canals
115
Engineering
121
Roads
128
AGRICULTURE
135
Farmsteads
149
Farmhouses
159
Farmland
170
Grass
182
COMMUNITY
204
Sawmills
309
Factories
324
CONCLUSION
337
Notes
347
Bibliography
353
209
362
251
371
262
425
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