Happy Flag Day! Today commemorates the official adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. To celebrate, we pulled together a list of books all about America! Explore our beautiful country from coast to coast, experience unique American landscapes, and learn about iconic aspects of American culture. 🇺🇸
America at Night
*Coming Soon* This book contains almost 200 photos taken from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s by the General Electric Company. Over these decades GE scientists continually experimented to invent and modify street lights that could transform urban downtowns, rural roads, and parks into daylight use. The images in this book show more than half of America lighting up for the first time liberating the country from common darkness and allowing entertainment, work, and pleasure to become a 24 hour pursuit.
A Visit to America
In 1934, at the peak of the Great Depression, A. G. Macdonell embarked on a journey across America. This travelogue is the deliciously scathing product of that adventure: a vivid and unflinchingly honest record of life in the cities and the slums, on the roads, railways, and the vast open plains. The hot breath of the Apocalyptic Horsemen is on my neck, and I still wake up on occasions in peaceful England, cold with terror from the dream that I am once again upon the road. By the time he departed for America, Macdonell was an international celebrity, and as such, he was afforded a privileged glimpse into both the glamour and the gritty reality of 1930s America. With brutal humor he glides effortlessly between lavish dinners and dances at the Plaza Hotel, passionate football games comparable to the ‘less pleasing features’ of the First World War, and the humbling ‘Spirit of the Pioneers’ buried deep within the poverty-stricken cattle ranges of Montana. While his descriptions can be savage and mocking, Macdonell is also affectionate, compassionate, and startlingly insightful. In A Visit to America, he gamely captures all that is beautiful and repulsive about a country gripped in economic turmoil; fascinating and timeless, it is an indulgence not to be missed.
Rails Across North America
The railways of the USA have a great following, both in the United States where there are large numbers of rail fans and increasingly in Britain/Europe, where there are enthusiasts who visit and model North American railroads.
The number and variety of these railway operations, is both colorful and interesting to enthusiasts, used to rail transport of a more subdued and stayed nature.
In addition to the big mainline companies, there are numerous short line and industrial concerns who run equally interesting train operations.
David Cable has visited the USA on fourteen occasions and has traveled extensively across most of the states, photographing railroads of every shape and size.
This book will not only interest enthusiasts in Britain and Europe, but also rail fans in the USA, who are keen railroad book buyers and modelers.
Streetcar Advertising in America
You might be surprised to learn that many of the consumer brands and products we enjoy today exist because of streetcar advertising. The Industrial Revolution of the early 1900’s and a massive consumer audience riding over 50,000 streetcars in nearly 3,000 cities and towns in every state of the union provided a great opportunity for Barron Collier, a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He simply used streetcar advertising to bring these two forces together and created the largest streetcar advertising empire in the world. By age twenty-six, he was a millionaire and at one time had business offices in 70 cities with business interests in more than a thousand cities. Most of these advertising cards have remarkable color graphics; over 250 of them are included in this book for your viewing pleasure. While streetcar advertising is definitely not a major advertising medium today, the advertising community might be surprised to learn that the basic principles of consumer advertising have not changed that much in the last one hundred years. Investors might do well to review this book to see which companies are still producing these popular products and brands as they represent some of the most successful businesses in America today.
God & Apple Pie
Christopher Buck examines the distinctive perspectives held by ten religious traditions that inform and expand on the notion of America and its place in the world. He covers Native American, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Christian Identity, Black Muslim, Islamic, Buddhist, and Bahá’í beliefs and invites serious reflection on what it means to be an American, particularly from a religious perspective At the heart of American studies is the idea of America itself. Here, Buck looks at the religious significance of America by examining those religions that have attached some kind of spiritual meaning to America. The author explores how American Protestantism and nine minority faiths have projected America into the mainstream of world history by defining—and redefining— America’s world role. Surveying the religious myths and visions of America relative to these ten religions, Buck shows how minority faiths have redefined America’s sense of national purpose. Religious myths of America are thought-orienting narratives that serve as vehicles of spiritual and social truths about the United States itself. Religious visions of America are action-oriented agendas that articulate the goals to which America should aspire and the role it should play in the community of nations.
Steve Fitch is among America’s most well-known chroniclers of the American West since the days of Easy Rider. He has been photographing examples of the West’s changing vernacular landscape and vanishing roadside landmarks for more than 40 years. In his new book, he presents both the ancient and the modern by way of petroglyphs, neon motel signs and hand-painted business signs, drive-in movie theater screens, and radio and cell towers. All of them are now endangered because of the advent of the Interstate Highway System and corporate franchises.
In this fascinating and comprehensive account, we are able to join in Fitch’s expansive journey, truly an odyssey, as represented in the book’s 120 unforgettable photographs, all sequenced to mimic the open road—both during day and night.
Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks is sure to become a modern-day classic, a book that will be all the more revered as America and Americans move farther away from the highways of the past. That economy and roadside culture are vanishing like endangered species, but Fitch was along for the ride. In sharing that past, he has been witness to his own form of historic preservation.
There is no more beautiful or alluring coast in the world than the West Coast of North America: a 5,000-mile-long region that extends from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Canada’s British Columbia, south to Washington, Oregon, and California, and then to Baja California in Mexico. No photographer until David Freese has explored the various and wondrous landscapes along the Pacific Ocean in such depth, making this the first book to look comprehensively at what makes the natural beauty of this particular coast so memorable. Behind the scenery, of course, lie the geologic forces that have created the West Coast landscapes that we now admire, explore, and praise. The engaging and informative text by renowned author Simon Winchester grounds us in understanding the deep relationship between geology and scenery. And Naomi Rosenblum, the esteemed photographic historian, writer, curator, and art critic, firmly establishes David Freese’s place among the great landscape photographers of the past and present. In every photograph, his unique vision of nature and of place comes shining through. West Coast: Bering to Baja is a major publishing enterprise that will appeal to book-lovers of photography, nature, and those who dream about visiting and touring North America’s West Coast. For here we see the vital connection between art and science merge in ways previously unseen for this special region of the world.
The East Coast of North America is a wondrous, intriguing, yet threatened coastline. It zigs and zags for more than 5,500 miles and assumes a multifaceted, jigsaw shape from the Arctic Circle and Greenland across the Canadian Maritimes, then southward into Maine, Cape Cod, New York Harbor, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, along the Outer Banks to Charleston Harbor and on to Cape Canaveral. It ends at the Dry Tortugas on the western tip of the Florida Keys near the Tropic of Cancer. In this companion book to West Coast: Bering to Baja, David Freese has once again captured a vast coastal region—one that presently faces a major peril from the rising sea brought about by global climate change and higher temperatures on land and in the ocean.
East Coast: Arctic to Tropic is the perfect complement to West Coast: Bering to Baja, in which Freese explored the creation and dangers associated with the North American portion of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. Together, the books provide a unique photographic and historical record of these two remarkably diverse Atlantic and Pacific Coasts at the very start of a true land-and-sea change brought about by human use of fossil fuels. In East Coast: Arctic to Tropic, an extraordinary sequence of photographs tells the Atlantic tale and reveals an ocean that lies in wait.
A Year in Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is Nature’s gem in Washington, DC. Twice the size of famed Central Park in New York City, Rock Creek Park is the wild, wooded heart of the nation’s capital, offering refuge and a keen sense of place for millions of residents and visitors each year.
Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a renowned naturalist, writer, and teacher in the DC area, spent a full year in the national park recording her observations. But this is more than a nature book, for Choukas-Bradley makes enlightened connections between the natural cycles of life within the park and her life as both a naturalist and writer and a wife and mother. Woven into her wanderings is an exuberance for the restorative powers of Nature and a yearning for better stewardship of our earthly home. Within these pages, Choukas-Bradley leads us on a personal discovery of the wonders of Rock Creek Park. Enhanced by the beautiful photographs of Susan Austin Roth, we are given the gift of an incredible and unforgettable journey.
Route 66 was the iconic highway of twentieth-century America, stretching from downtown Chicago to the Mississippi River at East St, Louis and proceeding through the Indian lands of Oklahoma and the Southwest to Los Angeles and the Pacific Coast, connecting Americans physically and culturally. In this engaging, meticulously researched, and fully illustrated study, Arthur Krim explores the fascinating history and complex symbolism behind this most famous American highway–both on the ground and in the mind. Route 66 traces the iconography of US 66 first as an idea, then as a fact, and finally as an enduring symbol found in classic American books and films, songs and television programs, and pop art. Combining history and geography, metaphor and captivating iconography, Krim reveals how Route 66 compressed disparate socio-economic events, traditional democratic ideals, and emerging cultural ideas into the national memory of Route 66 that prevails today. Route 66, now available in an elegant paperback edition, is a pioneering book not to be missed.
Jack Parsons has been investigating the incredible landscapes, amazing light, and diverse cultures of the American Southwest for more than thirty-five years, in turn becoming a master of photographic art. In his commitment to capturing and comprehending the land and life of New Mexico, Parsons has made more than 400,000 photographs of every type of landscape and culture in the ‘Land of Enchantment,’ as New Mexico is called. Dark Beauty features 100 of his rarely seen or published photographs of New Mexico, taken from the time of his arrival in the summer of 1969 right up to the present day. From captivating images of small towns, fiestas, and everyday life, to spectacular views of mountains, rivers, and plains, from enduring glimpses of old adobe houses, Pueblo villages, and religious structures, to refreshingly new views of murals, Main Streets, and iconography, Parsons presents a personal, elegiac narrative of his ‘home place.’ Seen as a whole, the photographs in Dark Beauty reveal a deep understanding and reverence for New Mexico’s complex and rich history, unique multiculturalism, and unparalleled beauty.
At Home in the West
Throughout the world, the American West has defined the character of the United States of America as no other region in America ever could. The combination of awe-inspiring topography and landscapes, from the 100th meridian to the Pacific Coast, along with the integration of Indian and Hispanic cultures into the American fabric of life have long inspired citizens of the world to travel to and explore the vast lands that define the American West, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present time. Photography helped to open up the West after the American Civil War by sharing views of nature unparalleled in any other place on Earth. And photography helped to create the beginning of a national park system that may well go down in history as America’s greatest democratic ideal. It is no wonder that public lands have come to dominate the American West, from national parks to national grasslands and wildlife refuges, from national forests to national monuments and historical sites, from wild and scenic rivers to other sanctuaries of wilderness. Willy Sutton has spent much of the past thirty years getting out of his truck and into the landscape, taking his camera to places of natural wonder both well known and obscure. He has assembled one of the great photographic bodies of work dealing with the public lands of the American West, providing a glimpse of what these landscapes looked like before they were designated as national treasures. As essayists Toby Jurovics and Susan B. Moldenhauer make plain, Willy Sutton’s photographs, as represented in this book, will long be held in esteem for the pioneering work they embody, even in this contemporary age dominated by urban development, social and economic inequality, and climate change. At Home in the West:The Lure of Public Land is a book for the ages.
Small Town South
Since 1983 David Wharton has photographed the twelve states that define the American South, focusing his attention on rural and small-town culture, vernacular architecture and landscape, the role of religion in Southern life, and the relationship between Southerners, their natural surroundings, and the communities they have built. Small Town South is the result of Wharton’s travels through a region that extends from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas in the west to Virginia and the Carolinas in the east, from Kentucky and Tennessee in the north to Florida in the south, with Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia forming the region’s center in between. No other photographer has devoted so much time and attention to recording this distinctive American place. Wharton organizes his study into thematic portfolios that address themes such as the intersection of tradition and modernity, local commemorations of the past, the omnipresence of the church in town life, the difficulties of making a living in the New World economy, the look of Main Street, the display of public murals and memorials, and the iconographic unfolding of community values. Many have likened Wharton’s photographic eye and approach to the work of other photographic masters of the South, including Walker Evans, Eudora Welty, William Christenberry, Shelby Lee Adams, Alex Harris, Rob Amberg, and Martha A. Strawn. And, just as we turn to those artists to help us understand and reckon with Southern history and culture, we now can look to David Wharton as another pioneer photographer of the Southern small town in all its simplicity and complexity.
All of the books in this list are available for purchase on our website, or from any major retailer.