A Clearing in the Distance by Witold Rybczynski
Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century

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Synopsis

In a brilliant collaboration between writer and subject, Witold Rybczynski, the bestselling author of Home and City Life, illuminates Frederick Law Olmsted's role as a major cultural figure at the epicenter of nineteenth-century American history.

We know Olmsted through the physical legacy of his stunning landscapes -- among them, New York's Central Park, California's Stanford University campus, and Boston's Back Bay Fens. But Olmsted's contemporaries knew a man of even more extraordinarily diverse talents. Born in 1822, he traveled to China on a merchant ship at the age of twenty-one. He cofounded The Nation magazine and was an early voice against slavery. He managed California's largest gold mine and, during the Civil War, served as the executive secretary to the United States Sanitary Commission, the precursor of the Red Cross.

Rybczynski's passion for his subject and his understanding of Olmsted's immense complexity and accomplishments make his book a triumphant work. In A Clearing in the Distance, the story of a great nineteenth-century American becomes an intellectual adventure.
 

About Witold Rybczynski

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Witold Rybczynski is the author of ten books, including Home, City Life, and the national bestseller A Clearing in the Distance, for which he won a Christopher Award and J. Anthony Lukas Prize. He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Review of Books. He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Published July 23, 2013 by Scribner. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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and, most impressively of all, designed a large roster of public and private landscape projects, among them the Bay Area’s Mountain View Cemetery, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Montreal’s “Mountain,” portions of the Stanford University campus, the park surrounding Niagara Falls, the gardens surroundi...

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Publishers Weekly

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In 1893, at a banquet at Madison Square Garden in New York, a Chicago architect delivered an impromptu encomium to Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape designer responsible for the grounds of the rec

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Publishers Weekly

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Olmstead's 1858 plan of Central Park established a new American pastoral aesthetic, uniting English picturesque elements, such as large, winding areas of grass, water and woods, within a harmonious but sharply circumscribed urban space.

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Entertainment Weekly

Olmsted went on to design parks in Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, Montreal, Buffalo, and Detroit, the parklands around Niagara Falls, and so much else that when you read A Clearing in the Distance, a sparkling biography by architecture writer Witold Rybczynski, you keep expecting to turn the page and...

Jul 16 1999 | Read Full Review of A Clearing in the Distance: F...

BookPage

Over the next 40 years, Olmsted designed more than 60 parks and neighborhoods throughout the country: Cornell University;

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https://bookpage.com

Witold Rybczynski's latest book, A Clearing in the Distance, chronicles not just Olmsted's remarkable designs: to do so would ignore half his achievements.

May 06 2016 | Read Full Review of A Clearing in the Distance: F...

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