A Landscape History of New England (MIT Press)

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9780262525275: A Landscape History of New England (MIT Press)
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An examination of New England's diverse landscapes, and our varying perceptions of them, across two centuries of settlement, work, and recreation.

A Landscape History of New England takes a view of New England's landscapes that goes beyond picture postcard-ready vistas of white-steepled churches, open pastures, and tree-covered mountains. Its chapters, for example, describe the Native American presence in the Maine Woods; offer a history of agriculture told through stone walls, woodlands, and farm buildings; report on the fragile ecology of tourist-friendly Cape Cod beaches; and reveal the ethnic stereotypes informing Colonial Revivalism. Taken together, they offer a wide-ranging history of New England's diverse landscapes, stretching across two centuries.

The book shows that all New England landscapes are the products of human agency as well as nature. The authors trace the roles that work, recreation, historic preservation, conservation, and environmentalism have played in shaping the region, and provide fresh perspectives on New England's many landscapes: forests, mountains, farms, coasts, industrial areas, villages, towns, and cities. Generously illustrated, with many archival photographs, A Landscape History of New England offers readers a solid historical foundation for understanding the great variety of places that make up New England.

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About the Author:

Blake Harrison holds a doctorate in geography from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of The View from Vermont: Tourism and the Making of an American Rural Landscape.

Review:

All who know and love New England will find something new in this fascinating book, whose authors probe beyond the stereotypes to discover its landscape's many stories.

(Anne Whiston Spirn, author of The Language of Landscape)

Each of these finely honed essays offers fresh insight into iconic landscapes we thought we knew. The authors explain the changing meaning of emblematic structures, views, and places, as a craftsman might open the back of a pocket watch to reveal its inner workings. A great read for professionals, students, or anyone who loves New England.

(Anne Knowles, Geography Department, Middlebury College)

This volume takes the history of human activity in the intensively built and rebuilt environments of some of America's oldest European settlements and puts it back into the story. It is an excellent work of scholarship that will be useful to scholars in the field and in classrooms. Its many bonbon articles offer wonderful surprises. I fully anticipate the book becoming a must-have collection for historians all over the country, filling an important niche in New England environmental history.

(Jan Albers, Executive Director, Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History; author of Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape)

New England, while being a 'world of breathless change,' is often imagined as pristine, unspoiled, and traditional. This collection, by emphasizing these themes from so many different angles, makes an important contribution to our understanding of how landscapes have been both used and idealized.

(Paul Searls, Department of History, Lyndon State College; author of Two Vermonts)

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