By William E. Leuchtenburg
For an individual drawn to heritage, the actual lines of the previous, in particular historic locations, carry a unique fascination. if it is a battlefield or the house of a striking American, there isn't any query that we comprehend the prior in a special and extra rapid method once we stumble upon it "on the ground."
In American Places, greater than dozen of America's so much talented historians write approximately their very own encounters with ancient locations, bringing a private perspective to endure on a wide selection of websites, starting from Monticello to Fenway Park. the following James M. McPherson writes concerning the battlefield of Gettysburg, and the way strolling the floor of Pickett's cost encouraged certainly one of his books. Kevin Starr visits the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood and reveals the various flavors of California background there. Joel Williamson takes a bemused journey of Elvis Presley's Graceland, and David Kennedy tells the tale of the "Pig warfare" of San Juan Island, the place a spat among Britain and the USA over a speck of land within the Pacific helped ensure the form of the U.S. and Canada. William Freehling compares areas, Charleston's Battery and New Orleans' Jackson sq., exhibiting how every one finds the several spirit of the society that created it. And Edward Ayers talks approximately spending time in our on-line world, u.s., a digital position that has a lot in universal with the the United States visited through Alexis de Tocqueville a century and a part in the past. different items contain Robert Dallek at the FDR Memorial, David Hackett Fischer at the Boston universal, and William Leuchtenburg on his local borough of Queens.
American Places celebrates the profession of Sheldon Meyer, who over his years at Oxford college Press has released a few of our so much distinctive historians, together with many Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize winners, nearly all of whom have contributed to this quantity.
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Extra resources for American Places: Encounters with History, a Celebration of Sheldon Meyer
But here, on a dirt road in Barre, time has effectively erased a slave past, and New Englanders, I suspect, have come to think of their own history as one of sturdy yeoman farmers, independent, somewhat truculent, white Christians who constructed the stone walls celebrated later by the likes of Robert Frost. Layers of myth separate me from Quork, a process of denial and reinterpretation that began while he was still alive. " Quork grew up in one of those "country towns," but his experiences around the dinner table, working with an owner in the hay fields, riding in a wagon to church services on Sundays, bred not contentment but dreams of real equality.
Rather, it 37 AMERICAN PLACES seems so remote, so isolated from other houses, so cut off by an encroaching forest, that I find it hard to visualize what it might have been like for unfree Africans to work here. I have not had this problem on Virginia tobacco plantations or on the old levees of Tidewater Carolina where huge gangs of slaves once produced rice. In those places the Africans made a permanent mark on the landscape. One encounters slave quarters and special rooms in the great mansions reserved for the black men and women who served the masters as house slaves.
A maze of highways crisscrosses the Common at the center of the village, creating curious grass fractals bounded by asphalt. One road leads to Worcester, some twenty-two miles to the east. Others connect Barre to small neighboring communities in central Massachusetts, obscure farming towns founded long ago, which now increasingly attract those who have the resources to sustain a rural retreat. Prolonged drought has browned the park grass and stressed the maple trees. Although it is mid-August when I arrive in Barre, the dry scent of autumn is already in the air.
American Places: Encounters with History, a Celebration of Sheldon Meyer by William E. Leuchtenburg