The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place
Like the pivotal clue in a Conan Doyle story, the American porch hides itself in plain sight. But it is a national treasure, one that has long awaited the attention of a fine writer like Michael Dolan. In careful, spirited prose, Dolan relates the colorful and surprising history of the porch, starting with the ancient Greeks. George Washington makes his appearance, as Dolan describes how the amateur architect and nation builder may have happened upon a porch in Barbados and brought the concept back to Mount Vernon. But the story is far older and more complex than that, and since those days the porch's popularity has risen and fallen and risen again. Dolan shows how the porch evolved into an icon of Americana, from plantation days to the new urbanism. Dolan's narrative isn't purely intellectual. He revived the front porch on his house in his hometown of Washington, D.C., designing and overseeing construction of a classic four-pillared porch to grace his 1926 bungalow, complete with lacquered ceiling, overhead fan, and restored metal glider. The story of that porch's decay and restoration not only inspired the book but serves as a touchstone in the author's story as well. (6 x 9, 352 pages, color photos)Michael Dolan has written for The New Yorker, Slate, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and other publications. His documentary script and production credits include many television programs aired by National Geographic Explorer and the Discovery Channel. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.
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The American porch: an informal history of an informal placeUser Review - Book Verdict
In this delightful look at an American icon, journalist and documentary scriptwriter and producer Dolan traces the history of the porch, using this history to explore subjects such as architecture, history, slavery, colonialism, trade, anthropology, sociology, consumer behavior, and publishing. He begins with an account of remodeling his own front porch and then takes us on an irreverent yet informative tour of the development of the porch, from its origins in ancient Greece and Rome, Africa and India, with stops along the way in Brazil, the Caribbean, Renaissance Italy, Georgian England, and Colonial America. From there, he charts the rise, decline, fall, and reemergence of the porch in America, from Greek revival architecture to plantation culture, from Victorian bungalows to suburban ranch homes, from front porch conversation to air conditioning and television, and from Modernism to the New Urbanism. Throughout, the author supplements his own research by calling upon an impressive array of authorities. Considering the book's accessibility, the amount and quality of its coverage, and the current lack of comparable titles, this is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries.-M.C. Duhig, Lib. Ctr. of Point Park Coll. & Carnegie Lib., Pittsburgh ...
Review: The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal PlaceUser Review - Goodreads
Good stories and mostly good history.
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