Eric's Reviews > Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy

Measuring America by Andro Linklater
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Jun 15, 2011

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Read from July 30, 2010 to June 15, 2011

Forget the subtitle, Linklater tells the story of how the American land was surveyed and brought from unknown, unmeasured, and unsaleable to known, quantified, and commodified...from land to property. Along the way, learn how Jefferson almost suc...ceeded in moving us to a decimal-based metric system; why the North beyond the 13 colonies is marked by grids and straight lines and the South is not, and how that has shaped the redeeming values of the former and the corrosive character of the latter; why everywhere the metric system has been imposed from the top down by government and opposed by the people; why the vineyard on the other side of the Potomac is named "9 Chains North" and why Superior Street in Cleveland is 132 feet wide; and how greed corrupted the scientific project that was measuring the land. Interesting stuff, if light on the natives who were displaced, the slaves who were bound to their master's land, or the workers who yearned to break free from the cities.
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