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First published in 1973, this remarkable book about life in a small turn-of-the-century Wisconsin town has become a cult classic. Lesy has collected and arranged photographs taken between 1890 and 1910 by a Black River Falls photographer, Charles Van Schaik.
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The last decade of the 19th century was, for some Americans, a time when great fortunes were to be made. For many others, however, the period was a time of economic dislocation, when the gap between city and countryside, rich and poor, grew ever wider. As the Indian Wars ended and the Gilded Age extended into America's first Imperial Age, social critics such as Mark Twain and William Dean Howells began to examine the dark side of the American dream: violence, poverty, degenerate behavior, suicide, and insanity.
In the late 1960s, another desperate time, historian Michael Lesy took a long look at fin-de-siècle America. Examining a collection of several thousand glass plate negatives and historical documents from Jackson County, Wisconsin, he concocted a sprawling treatise on a past that had been willfully forgotten, a brooding rejoinder to Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology. First published in 1973, Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip, now reissued in a handsome paperbound edition, became a key text of the counterculture, a book to shelve alongside Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Custer Died for Your Sins--and it sometimes reads like a hip product of its time. Lesy documents the unsettling record of one small corner of rural America, turning up accounts of barn burnings, attacks by gangs of armed tramps, threatening and obscene letters, death by diphtheria and smallpox (the Wisconsin townsfolk had, some years, to attend several funerals a week), alcoholism, madness, business and bank failures, and even a case or two of witchcraft.
After reading Lesy's texts and viewing the sometimes unsettling images he's turned up, you would be forgiven for thinking that no one in small-town Wisconsin in our great-great-grandparents' time was well-adjusted--which is, of course, not the case. Hyperbole notwithstanding, this is a remarkable study, one that Lesy himself rightly calls an experiment in both history and alchemy. --Gregory McNameeFrom the Publisher:
Wisconsin Death Trip is the subject of a forthcoming Cinemax Reel Life documentary scheduled to air in summer 2000.
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Book Description Pantheon Books, 1973. Hardcover. Condition: good. First Edition. 071390660X. Seller Inventory # 588439
Book Description ALLEN LANE. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Fair. HARDCOVER Legendary independent bookstore online since 1994. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. Book in excellent condition. DJ is worn. Arts and Entertainment>Photography>Theory and Criticism. Book: USED, Good. Dust Jacket: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # 01978071390660800. Seller Inventory # 01978071390660800
Book Description Allen Lane - A Division of Penguin Books Ltd., London, 1973. Leinen. Condition: Gut. Dust Jacket Condition: Zufriedenstellend. "The pictures you`re about to see, are of people who were once actually alive. The excerpts you`re about to read recount events like them, once experienced." ----------------- Erste Auflage / First edition; Lilafarbener Leineneinband / Purple cloth binding; Silbergeprägter Buchrücken / Silver embossing on Spine; 200+ S./p. (unpagniert/un-numbered); Enthält zahlreiche scharz/weiß reproduktionen / Contains numerous black and white reproductions; Ecken des Schutzumschlages leicht berieben / Edges of dustcover slightly worn; Schnitt leicht nachgedunkelt / Paper slightly browned; Guter Gesamtzustand / Good overall condition. Seller Inventory # 000979
Book Description Allen Lane, 1973. Hard Cover. Condition: Collectible; Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good+. First UK edition. Hardcover in purple cloth. Boards bowed, else very light wear. Light wear and short tears to toned jacket; light smudging to endpapers, else interior is clean, tight, and just faintly toned. Seller Inventory # 620743
Book Description Allen Lane, 1973. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 071390660X-2-4
Book Description Allen Lane, London, 1973. hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fair. Michael Lesy (illustrator). First British Edition. Dustjacket has some closed tears amd creases; one 1,5 cm piece missing on front bottom corner; inside clean and no bumping; fine Text: English / The photographs were taken in a small Wisconsin town between 1890 and 1910. Fascinating glimpse of life in the midwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Roth 101; Parr & Badger II, 217; Open Book, 292. Preface by Warren Susman. 200 + pages (un-numbered). book. Seller Inventory # 1737
Book Description Allen Lane, 1973. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 071390660X