My Father who is on Earth

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Southern Illinois University Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 231 pages
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On March 6, 1945, after hearing rumors that his son, John, was writing a book about their stormy past, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote a note asking him, "What is this talk of a book? Of all that I donít need and dread is more exploitation. Canít you drop it?"

John assured his father that he would like the book and sent him a copy on its publicationóMarch 29, 1946. A few days later, Frank Lloyd Wright returned it with numerous comments penciled in the margin, responding to what his son had written, and with a request that a new, second copy be sent to him. John complied with the request but first transcribed not only all his fatherís comments into the clean copy in black pencil but also his own answers to them in red pencil. He also transcribed all these comments into a third copy, again using colors to differentiate his comments from those of his father. This third copy is the basis for this new edition of John Lloyd Wrightís book.

The main text of this volume is a reprint of the 1946 edition along with marginal notes, comments, and corrections made by John Lloyd Wright and his father, as well as explanatory notes and an introduction by Narciso G. Menocal.

In the postscript, Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, John Lloyd Wrightís daughter, remembering her grandfather and father, says that in this edition "what was a sonís book becomes a father and son book."

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Example of the writing style: "The burglar liked papa! Papa liked the burglar!" If you liked Dick and Jane, you'll like this. Read full review


My Father Who Is on Earth
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About the author (1994)

Wright is widely considered the greatest American architect and certainly one of the most influential. Throughout a career of nearly 70 years, he produced masterpiece after masterpiece, each different and boldly new and yet each with the unmistakable touch of Wright's genius in the treatment of material, the detailing, and the overall concept. Born in Wisconsin of Welsh ancestry, Wright studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin and began his career in Chicago as chief assistant to Louis Henry Sullivan, who influenced his early thinking on the American architect as harbinger of democracy and on the organic nature of the true architecture. Out of these ideas, Wright developed the so-called prairie house, of which the Robie House in Chicago and the Avery Coonley House in Riverdale, Illinois, are outstanding examples. In the "prairie-style," Wright used terraces and porches to allow the inside to flow easily outside. Movement within such houses is also open and free-floating from room to room and from layer to layer. Public buildings followed: the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo (destroyed) and the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, the former probably the most original and seminal office building up to that time (1905). The Midway Gardens in Chicago and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (both gone) came next, winning Wright still greater acclaim. Personal tragedy, misunderstanding, and neglect dogged Wright's middle years, but he prevailed, and in his later life gathered enormous success and fame. The masterworks of his mature years are the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin, and Fallingwater, Bear Run, Pennsylvania---with its bold cantilevered balconies over a running stream, probably the most admired and pictured private house in American architecture; then, toward the end of his life, the spiral design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Wright's own houses, to which he joined architectural studios, are also noteworthy: Taliesin West was a true Shangri-la in the Arizona desert, to which he turned in order to escape the severe winters in Wisconsin, where he had built his extraordinary Taliesin East. Wright was a prolific and highly outspoken writer, ever polemical, ever ready to propagate his ideas and himself. All of his books reflect a passionate dedication to his beliefs---in organic architecture, democracy, and creativity.

Narcisco G. Menocal is Professor of Architectural History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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