River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit
Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

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The world as we know it today began in California in the late 1800s, and Eadweard Muybridge had a lot to do with it. This striking assertion is at the heart of Rebecca Solnit’s new book, which weaves together biography, history, and fascinating insights into art and technology to create a boldly original portrait of America on the threshold of modernity. The story of Muybridge—who in 1872 succeeded in capturing high-speed motion photographically—becomes a lens for a larger story about the acceleration and industrialization of everyday life. Solnit shows how the peculiar freedoms and opportunities of post–Civil War California led directly to the two industries—Hollywood and Silicon Valley—that have most powerfully defined contemporary society.

About Rebecca Solnit

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Rebecca Solnit writes extensively on photography and landscape. She is a contributing editor to Art Issues and Creative Camera and is the author of three books. She has contributed essays to several museum catalogues including Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach and the Whitney Museum's Beat Culture and the New America. She was a 1993 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Published January 27, 2003 by Viking Adult. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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from a world of places and materials to a world of representations and information, a world of vastly greater reach and less solid grounding”—again, it seems, a perfectly California thing to do.

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In the 1870s, at a racetrack built by railroad baron Leland Stanford, Eadweard Muybridge invented high-speed photography.

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