A Clearing In The Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted And America In The Nineteenth Century | Book, Essay
- Book description:
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is best remembered today as a landscape designer, well known for his plans for New York's Central Park and Prospect Park, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the campus of Stanford University, among other noteworthy sites. But, writes urban studies professor and accomplished author Witold Rybczynski, Olmsted was an American original, a 19th-century success story who packed many careers and wide learning and travel into a long life. He spent time in China and Europe, managed a California gold mine, edited The Nation , commanded a medical unit in the Civil War, and crisscrossed the United States many times over, writing long reports and articles all the while. (One series of reports urged, for instance, that the then-remote Yosemite region of California be made a national park.) Olmsted, Rybczynski suggests, changed the face of America: he had a vision of the American landscape as a reflection of the national character, with its broad vistas and open skies, and he was concerned to make America's urban spaces livable, bringing "trees and greenery into the congested grid of streets." At Olmsted's urging, many American and Canadian cities adopted his system of parks, broad avenues, and greenways, which encouraged the appreciation and preservation of nature; his influence is felt today in the so-called urban ecology movement, and in dozens of public spaces across the continent. Rybczynski's fine and illuminating biography of Olmsted shows him to have been a man of many parts, an important historical figure whose legacy remains strong nearly a century after his death. --Gregory McNamee
- Book Authors:
- Witold Rybczynski was born in Edinburgh, of Polish parenthood, raised in London, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he besides taught for 20 old ages. He is presently the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, where he besides co-edits the Wharton Real Estate Review. Rybczynski has designed and built houses as a registered designer, every bit good as making practical experiments in low-priced lodging, which took him to Mexico, Nigeria, India, the Philippines, and China. ( From www.witoldrybczynski.com )
A Clearing In The Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted And America In The Nineteenth Century Essay
- I had no thought Frederick Law Olmstead was such a Renaissance adult male. His thoughts were so in front of his Loved this book about Frederick Law Olmsted. I do n't retrieve the layout of Central Park in NYC really good, since it 's been many old ages since I wandered through at that place, but that 's his design. A good life of Olmsted including his life and his many undertakings. A few more interspersed drawings and exposures would hold helped interrupt up the text a spot more. Read like the writer 's doctorial thesis. Dry as a bone life about a absorbing American. Olmsted turns out to be a absorbing adult male, with facets to his character I had ne'er heard of. I would give this a five except that the information about the people Olmsted worked with, and about inside informations of assorted Parkss may be excessively detailed for the insouciant reader such as myself. I gained an apprehension from this book, possibly non be rather what the writer intended but extremely valuable, something I hope I will go portion of my consciousness: I now find that I am looking at landscape gardening and Parkss with a new grasp, recognizing that what looks so “natural” is frequently art. And I have a sense of the attempt and clip it takes to make these. Olmsted is so much more than the cat who designed Central Park and Mount Royal. I had no thought. This is a reasonably unbelievable narrative. A compelling life of Frederick Law Olmstead, one of America 's innovator landscape designers, portraying the adult male, his achievements, and why those achievements matter today. His plants include New York City 's Central Park, Brooklyn 's Prospect Park, legion private committees such as the Vanderbilt Biltmore estate in North Carolina, and many others Parkss and undertakings across the state. Intriguing capable, well-researched, but a slog for me. I merely made it halfway through. Too much clip spent on Olmsted 's immature life, when what I truly wanted to read about was the creative activity of Central Park in NYC. Here is the narrative of one of our obscure national heroes -- Frederick Law Olmsted -- who, among other things, is partly responsible for the national park system we all take for granted. His organic structure of work includes Central Park, the U.S. Capitol evidences, the evidences of the World 's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and of class the Biltmore estate. These are merely the best known of his undertakings -- there are literally tonss more. This volume traces Olmsted 's life from his young person to his decease. We get a existent sense of his personality, his relationship with his household and friends, and see his strengths and failings. We besides get an penetration to an epoch in our state 's history when metropoliss like Buffalo are in their babyhood and the art of landscape architecture becomes a important factor in the cloth of our state. Very gratifying read. Olmstead 's life is a survey of being smart but non superb at a few things and forcing in front to do a new vision of how he wanted things to be and force for the ideal yet compromised to acquire the occupation done. Many illustrations of how others helped him along the manner. Besides, many illustrations of how he made life-long relationships even though he was non a societal individual, but a workaholic. All interesting. Olmstead was against bondage, but disliked the abolishment cause. Traveled through the South and wrote about how bondage was financially non favourable for the slave holder. Hard to conceive of how one adult male shaped today 's public and private landscapes, our attitudes towards the demand for public Parkss to wind off and loosen up in. Great life, decelerate at points, but really elaborate good written history of the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted. I will ne'er look at Central Park, or any urban park the same manner. Oh, to hold that vision today.aut Interesting book on Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park every bit good as tonss of other public and private landscapes. I did n't cognize much about him or about the history and theory of landscape architecture. Impressively well-researched. A Clearing in the Distance is a extremely gratifying book about Frederick Law Olmsted who is normally held to be the greatest Landscape Architect in American history. Central Park is his most celebrated undertaking but he besides built Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Mount Royal in Montreal, Chicago 's Riverside parks ; the park system for Buffalo, Wisconsin 's expansive necklace of Parkss ; and the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls. Rybczynski provides a fantastic life narrative of multi-faceted person, a thorough reappraisal of his work as a landscape designer and a elaborate analysis of his extraordinary Hagiographas on bondage which made great part to the abolitonist cause and which continue to steer historiographers to this twenty-four hours. It was a joy to read about one of my heroes of green infinite, Frederick Law Olmsted. Interesting to larn how many businesss and surveies Olmsted went through on his oblique journey toward going the celebrated interior decorator of some of our best parklands. I 'm a fan of Rybczynski 's authorship and Olmsted 's Parkss, so this was pure cloud nine to me. Interesting read on a absorbing adult male. About as merriment to read as an obituary. Disorganized, ill written, and BORING. I did n't happen the writer 's interpolation of himself capturing. A fantastic expression into the life of one America 's early most successful landscape designers. An astonishing and celebrated calling. Seems that every where 1s goes in the US his influence lives on. I have a new grasp for Parkss and public gardens. Reading this book established Frederick Law Olmsted as one of my favourite design heroes. Historical. Traveling. I loved this book. Olmsted wrote: Less wilderness and upset I object to. This book makes me desire to see every topographic point Olmsted designed, particularly Mount Royal in Montreal and Yosemite. This adult male did so many astonishing things. I am ever impressed when I visit a locale where he was involved and wanted to cognize more. There were besides facets of this adult male that I had no thought approximately. A nicely written life that tells you merely every bit much about 19th century America as it does about Olmsted and landscape architecture ( which is a good thing ) . In the Beginning I would n't hold thought it was my sort of book but it truly grabbed me. The Olmsted name come up many times as I grew up. This book has clarified for me that the undertakings closest to my place -- the Lewis and Clark Exposition, the Forty Mile Loop, the Seattle Park System and University of Washington campus were undertakings of this adult male 's boy ( Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. ) . Good book overall. Very elaborate, possibly overly long. Detailed to the point it becomes blunting at times. Pretty dry book, but Olmstead led an original life so that makes it clear. Deserving reading, but merely if you 're interested in the how the Olmstead Parkss were created. I wanted this book to be great. It was intriguing ; I had no thought about most of Olmsted 's life, merely the basic celebrated material. He was far more of a Renaissance single than I had known. Having said that: the authorship makes it experience like a batch is left out. Some parts of his life are merely skimmed over. Some apparently interesting plot lines are covered in three paragraphs and so vanish. Besides, the writer interjects at assorted points with his ain wholly unneeded versions of possible experiences, which merely draw off from the flow. I purchased this book as a keepsake of my visit to the Biltmore Estate, portion of the Olmsted bequest. True life, by virtuousness of its demand to adhere to rigid certification demands, can be a batch of dry factual information cluttered with footers. This was n't. This is a really interesting book about Fredrick Law Olmsted, who became one of the earliest park and public landscape contrivers in the 2nd half of the Nineteenth Century. It inside informations his planning of Central Park, N.Y. , Prospect Park, Brooklyn, The World 's Fair in Chicago, engagement in be aftering Yosemite Nat'l Park, and many other public landscapes. The writer inside informations the assorted battles and struggles involved in the planning and executing of these big undertakings. He was besides a leader in urban planning. It 's clear that Olmsted left an unerasable grade on our modern-day life and it is discernible in many locations that we can all visit. The book besides incorporates the societal history and civilization of that clip period which is merely every bit interesting as the information about Olmsted himself. Because it is a life it is slightly deficient in play or exhilaration and therefore dawdle a spot on occasion, but it is a extremely worthwhile read. I am non the best reader of non-fiction. It has to catch and keep my involvement, but the narration of this book did non rather catch me. Dreadfully deadening. Just read his wiki page... I was cheerily surprised by this history of Olmsted 's life. I truly did n't cognize much about him before picking this up and he had rather a varied background. I could hold done without the writer 's ejaculations of his ain sentiments and ideas.
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