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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 04, 2010 03:00AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is a thread dedicated to the discussion of American Icons. Many of these icons have helped shape our history.

Please feel free to add your favorites with an image and why you like them.


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
THE LIBERTY BELL

The Liberty Bell by Gary B. Nash by Gary B. Nash Gary B. Nash

Brief Synopsis:

Stephen Conway on an engaging short discussion of one of America’s potent symbols of liberty

Histories of objects are interesting new ways in which we can understand the past. Gary Nash’s short study of the Liberty Bell and its contested symbolism is a good example of what is fast becoming an established genre.

While written with an American readership in mind, the book should appeal to anyone interested in cultural history.

The Liberty Bell was originally installed in Philadelphia’s State House in the middle of the 18th century. The bell bore the biblical legend: “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof”. Intended to inspire Pennsylvanians, the bell became associated with American freedom after the creation of the United States later in the century.

By the middle of the 19th century, the need to manufacture national unity in a country of immigrants meant that the Liberty Bell had been elevated to the status of a revered symbol of American liberty – and it was promoted as much as the Stars and Stripes and the Declaration of Independence itself.

Nash charts the history of the bell and what it has meant to various sections of American society. No sooner did it become an emblem of liberty secured for many Americans than it acted as a potent reminder of liberty denied for others.

The bell was used by abolitionists in their fight against slavery, by women’s rights groups, by campaigners against child labour, and, most recently, by black Americans seeking true equality. Only now, the author concludes, is it everyone’s bell.

Stephen Conway is professor of history at University College London


Source of synopsis: BBC History


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Here is another one that I remember very well:

BUNKER HILL

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message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Do American's consider Davy Crockett and icon? If so here is a new biography on the man and his times; "David Crockett: The Lion of the West" by Michael Wallis.

David Crockett The Lion of the West by Michael Wallis by Michael Wallis
Description:
His name was David Crockett. He never signed his name any other way, but popular culture transformed his memory into "Davy Crockett," and Hollywood gave him a raccoon hat he hardly ever wore. Best-selling historian Michael Wallis casts a fresh look at the frontiersman, storyteller, and politician behind these legendary stories. Born into a humble Tennessee family in 1786, Crockett never "killed him a b'ar" when he was only three. But he did cut a huge swath across early-nineteenth-century America—as a bear hunter, a frontier explorer, a soldier serving under Andrew Jackson, an unlikely congressman, and, finally, a martyr in his now-controversial death at the Alamo. Wallis's David Crockett is more than a riveting story. It is a revelatory, authoritative biography that separates fact from fiction, providing us with an extraordinary evocation of a true American hero and the rough-and-tumble times in which he lived.

Reviews:
"Wallis’ examination of the man behind the myth is both well written and engrossing." - Booklist

"Michael Wallis is the master frontier story teller, having chronicled everything from Billy the Kid to Highway 66. Now he’s told the tale of the real David Crockett as distinguished from the mostly mythical one. Davy (with a show biz “y”) Crockett did, in fact, die at The Alamo but he did not kill a bear when he was only three or wear a coonskin cap except in publicity photographs. That’s just for starters. But the truth has a way of being more interesting than the made-up, most particularly when in the talented writing mind and hands of Michael Wallis." - Jim Lehrer

"Like Crockett himself [Wallis] is a storyteller. The man who emerges from these pages is vivid, comprehensible, and, in the main, historically reliable. On a subject that has come to be dominated by acrimonious debate and posturing, such serenity has a lot to recommend it." - Texas Monthly


message 5: by John (new)

John Gordon (fsmfan) | 5 comments I have recently finished an interesting book on Buffalo Bill.
Buffalo Bill's America William Cody and the Wild West Show by Louis S. Warren by Louis S. Warren

The Old West is a unique time and Buffalo Bill an intriguing and unusual character. That he created and managed the immensely sucessful Wild West Show should have made him enormously wealthy, and yet he ended his days with practically nothing. His show was very popular with the audiences of the day, people were fascinated by the Wild West - for them recent history, but a time passed and gone.
Buffalo Bill told so many tall stories about his life that it has been difficult to seperate fact from fantasy, this is something the author has managed to untangle to best present the real William Cody.
The book also covers the history of his show and looks at just about every significant character and infleunce associated with it. The level of detail is very thorough and the author provides some insightful perspectives of society in 19th Century USA. I did not find the interpretations of the symbolism of the Wild West show so interesting, like reading a literature review but this was the only downside of an excellent, detailed, thorough and fascinating biography.
Actually I am not sure I even understand what the author was going on about regarding the inverse parallels between Bram Stokers' "Dracula" and the Wild West Show.
Has anyone else here read this book and did you also flounder somewhat in the middle?


message 6: by Geevee (last edited Nov 13, 2011 12:55PM) (new)

Geevee From the other side of the Atlantic I'd like to add a mix of people/subjects:


Franklin Delano Roosevelt Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black by Conrad Black - an interesting man who did much to support Britain in WWII.

The Last Stand Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick by Nathaniel Philbrick Nathaniel Philbrick - two of the country's largest icons?

Failure is not an Option Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers) by Gene Kranz by Gene Kranz - deserves wider fame and to me is as much an icon of the Apollo programme as the astonauts.

Down the Great Unknown John Wesley Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon by Edward Dolnick by Edward Dolnick - the river and the man who charted it.

The Empire State Building by John Tauvanac by John Tauvanac - more than any other building, with the exception of the Statue of Liberty, this is the US icon for me.

Arlington National Cemetery Shrine to America's Heroes by James Edward Peters by James Edward Peters - military, explorers, statesmen/women, filmstars and many others including the humbling tomb of the unknowns. The history and the icons of America literally at one's feet.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Some great books Geevee.


message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) It has become an icon albeit a tragic one. It towered above the NY skyline and, like the Empire State Building, represented the energy of the city. They may rebuild it but it will never be quite the same.

The World Trade Center A Tribute by Bill Harris by Bill Harris


message 9: by Jill (last edited Dec 03, 2011 11:13AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This says it all.....one of the most impressive memorials in the USA and the world.




message 10: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I saw this last year for the first time...stunning...I just stood there for 20 minutes...then a visit to the bookstore :-)


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 05, 2011 08:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It is good they were not dancing at the time in the memorial - can you imagine those folks and worrying about their rights. The heck with the rights of others who just want to stand there for 20 minutes and soak up the ambiance, the reverence of the monument dedicated to one of our presidents.

I have to admit that the sculpture looks incredibly life like. Exceptional and very real. The other that I like is the one at the FDR memorial garden.

Always a visit to the bookstore which by the way is fairly good. (smile)


message 12: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I think the symbolism of the closed and open hands and the position of the feet is lost on some people as it represents the sundering of the Union and his challenge to bring the country back together.
My brother took his son to see the memorial when my nephew was about seven years old....he turned to my brother and said "Oh daddy". He still talks about that first visit and as an adult is a student of all that is Lincoln.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Interesting story Jill; I think Lincoln is an icon to many and I can appreciate the reverence that your nephew shared with your brother.


message 14: by Jill (last edited Jan 26, 2012 02:35PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I promise no more family stories!!!!!.... but that one is so dear to my heart and illustrates the effect that the memorial has, even on small children.

Another icon......Mount Rushmore




message 15: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is a new book covering one of America's great icons and by an author that has published some excellent history books:

The Blood of Heroes The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by James Donovan by James Donovan


message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Need I say more?




message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
No painfully they have become also iconic as symbolizing the number 11 as well. They were not even particularly attractive buildings; made everything dark downtown; yet boy when they were gone they were missed and the tragedy will live on forever as Pearl Harbor has.


message 18: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The number 11 also is symbolic of the end of WWI.....11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month. Odd coincidence.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Odd or scary. Not sure which.


message 20: by Jill (last edited Aug 17, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The men and women who work in the coal mines of our country often don't get much recognition until a tragedy occurs. But they are icons to us in coal country. Here is the memorial wall (to be completed in April of this year) to the 29 men who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. It is located in Whitesville, a small mining town in southern West Virginia.




And the statue that stands on the State capitol lawn in Charleston, WV.



message 21: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen About five years ago I had a wonderful telephone conversation with Joseph E. Persico the author of “11th Month 11th Day 11th Hour: Armistice Day 1918 World War I and it’s Violent Climax” In the books very first introductory sentence Mr. Persico mentioned Army Captain George K. Livermore and the letter he sent to his representative that started congressional hearings related to deaths on the final day of the Great War. I mentioned to Mr. Persico that my grandfather lived only about a mile from Capt. Livermore and that Livermore’s close friend was W. Averill Harriman. He found both to be very interesting. In the 1950’s Persico was a speech writer for then New York Governor Harriman. Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour Armistice Day, 1918  by Joseph E. Persico Joseph E. Persico Joseph E. Persico


message 22: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen Regarding Message 10 and the Lincoln Memorial, Daniel Chester French performed the sculpture of Lincoln. French’s first famous sculpture was the famous Concord Monument statue of the Minute Man at the Old North Bridge. Once completed it was unveiled for the Revolutionary War centennial event on April 19, 1875. French was good friends with local Concord literary residents Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcott family.


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "About five years ago I had a wonderful telephone conversation with Joseph E. Persico the author of “11th Month 11th Day 11th Hour: Armistice Day 1918 World War I and it’s Violent Climax” In the boo..."


What a very interesting story Mark; thank you for sharing that with us.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 27, 2012 10:27AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "Regarding Message 10 and the Lincoln Memorial, Daniel Chester French performed the sculpture of Lincoln. French’s first famous sculpture was the famous Concord Monument statue of the Minute Man at ..."

Having seen the Concord Monument so many times, I had never made that connection. Looking further into French after your wonderful post, I discovered that he also designed the Pulitzer Prize medals and is responsible for so many other wonderful sculptures, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_C...

http://www.yeodoug.com/resources/dc_f...

Regarding Chesterwood, his former home:

http://chesterwood.org/

The National Park Service has a wonderful primer on French:

http://www.nps.gov/history/NR/twhp/ww...

The Life of Daniel Chester French - Journey Into Fame by Margaret French Cresson by Margaret French Cresson


message 25: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Interesting posts, Bentley and Mark. Mr. French was a very talented man.


message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen Thanks, and speaking of W. Averill Harriman in an earlier post I may have to read “Reflected Glory: The life of Pamela Churchill Harriman” by guest Q&A author Sally Bedell Smith. Reflected Glory The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman by Sally Bedell Smith Sally Bedell Smith Sally Bedell Smith


message 27: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I have read that book, Mark and it is very revealing, to say the least.

Reflected Glory The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman by Sally Bedell Smith by Sally Bedell Smith Sally Bedell Smith


message 28: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960)

Two icons in one amazing picture.


message 29: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) An aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart captured the imagination of the public in the 1920-30s. She represented the spirit of the country; therefore I place her in the "icon" category.

The Sound of Wings

Sound of Wings by Mary S. Lovell by Mary S. Lovell

Synopsis

When Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937 during her flight around the world, she was already America's most famous female aviator. The author captures the drama and mystery behind this influential flier and feminist, from her tomboy days at the turn of the century to her early fascination with flying. The author also focuses on the unique relationship Earhart shared with George Putnam, the flamboyant publisher and public relations agent who became both her husband and her business manager.


message 30: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Did you know that the scale and magnificence of the Capitol building was the idea of Jefferson Davis? He supported the building until the day he left to become President of the CSA. Lots of other interesting facts are included in this book about the building of the seat of American government.

Freedom's Cap

Freedom's Cap The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War by Guy Gugliotta by Guy Gugliotta

Synopsis

The modern United States Capitol is a triumph of both engineering and design. From its 9-million-pound cast-iron dome to the dazzling opulence of the President’s Room and the Senate corridors, the Capitol is one of the most renowned buildings in the world. But the history of the U.S. Capitol is also the history of America’s most tumultuous years. As the new Capitol rose above Washington’s skyline, battles over slavery and secession ripped the country apart. Ground was broken just months after Congress adopted the compromise of 1850, which was supposed to settle the “slavery question” for all time. The statue Freedom was placed atop the Capitol’s new dome in 1863, five months after the Battle of Gettysburg.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you for the adds Jill. Well done.


message 32: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I think this is a magnificent photo. Thank you, Jeff Hughes, for capturing it so well.




message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Terrific Jill.


message 34: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960)


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington which is inscribed thus:

HERE RESTS IN
HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN
SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD

The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; it has never been officially named. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States of America. The World War I "Unknown" is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Victoria Cross, and several other foreign nations' highest service awards. The U.S. Unknowns who were interred are also recipients of the Medal of Honor, presented by the U.S. presidents who presided over their funerals


message 35: by Frank (new)

Frank | 70 comments How about Kit Carrson Blood and Thunder An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides Hampton Sides Hampton Sides or Daniel Boone Boone A Biography by Robert Morgan Robert Morgan Robert Morgan or Lewis and Clark Undaunted Courage The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier by Stephen E. Ambrose Stephen E. Ambrose Stephen E. Ambrose all American Icons in my book. Not to mention great books with great stories about taming the west


message 36: by Jill (last edited Feb 27, 2013 10:29AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Terrific, Frank.....indeed they are iconic figures who helped shape our country. BTW, please put your citations together at the bottom of the post for easier reading unless you are using the format that I used below when discussing one book. Thanks.

Another man who played a huge part during troubled times in the United States was General Robert E. Lee, a great gentleman and military leader. He was held in high esteem by Union leaders although he was leading the forces of the CSA.

Robert E. Lee: A Biography

Robert E. Lee A Biography by Emory M. Thomas by Emory M. Thomas

Synopsis
The life of Robert E. Lee is a story not of defeat but of triumph—triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering figure who commanded the Confederate army in the American Civil War. But late in life Lee confessed that he "was always wanting something."

In this probing and personal biography, Emory Thomas reveals more than the man himself did. Robert E. Lee has been, and continues to be, a symbol and hero in the American story. But in life, Thomas writes, Lee was both more and less than his legend. Here is the man behind the legend.


message 37: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) President John F. Kennedy has become an American icon for so many reasons; his youth, his family, his dealing with Krushchev in the Cuban Missile crisis, and unfortunately his assassination. He never had the chance to prove how effective he would have been as a President. Below is his grave, at Arlington National Cemetery with the eternal flame.




message 38: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

The Great Bridge The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough by David McCullough David McCullough

Synopsis:

This monumental book tells the enthralling story of one of the greatest accomplishments in our nation’s history, the building of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge rose out of the expansive era following the Civil War, when Americans believed all things were possible. So daring a concept as spanning the East River to join two great cities required vision and dedication of the kind that went into building Europe’s great cathedrals. During fourteen years of construction, the odds against success seemed overwhelming. Thousands of people were put to work. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, notorious political empires fell, and surges of public doubt constantly threatened the project. But the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge is not just the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time, replete with heroes and rascals who helped either to construct or to exploit the great enterprise.

The Great Bridge is also the story of a remarkable family, the Roeblings, who conceived and executed the audacious engineering plan at great personal cost. Without John Roebling’s vision, his son Washington’s skill and courage, and Washington’s wife Emily’s dedication, the bridge we know and cherish would never have been built.

Like the engineering marvel it describes, The Great Bridge, republished on the fortieth anniversary of its initial publication, has stood the test of time.


message 39: by Jill (last edited Aug 16, 2013 04:10PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I am reading that book right now, Alisa and it is quite good. You wouldn't think that the building of a bridge would be an interesting topic but you can't lose with David McCullough

The Great Bridge The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough by David McCullough David McCullough


message 40: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Here she stands in all her glory!!!!!!





message 41: by Kressel (new)

Kressel Housman | 917 comments Do any of you folks listen to the American Icons series on NPR? They're awesome: http://www.studio360.org/series/ameri...


message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks Kressel for the link - and Mike who could forget the Empire State Building if you are a New Yorker. And Alisa and Jill - that looks like a great book.


message 43: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4374 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: July 2, 2014

Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

Liberty's Torch The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mitchell by Elizabeth Mitchell (no photo)

Synopsis:

The Statue of Liberty has become one of the most recognizable monuments in the world: a symbol of freedom and the American Dream. But the story of the creation of the statue has been obscured by myth. In reality, she was the inspiration of one quixotic French sculptor hungry for fame and adoration: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

Bartholdi showed himself to be a talented sculptor at the tender age of twenty-one when a statue he created won third prize at the 1855 Paris Exhibition. His equally prodigious talent for entrepreneurship came to light soon afterwards. Following a trip to Egypt where he was inspired by the pyramids and the Sphinx, and with France in turmoil following the Franco-Prussian war, Bartholdi made for America, carrying with him the idea of a colossal statue of a woman in his mind. With no help coming from the French and American governments, he enlisted the help of a number of notable men and women of the age, including Joseph Pulitzer, Victor Hugo, Gustave Eiffel, and Emma Lazarus, and through a variety of money-making schemes and some very modern-seeming fundraising campaigns, collected almost all of the money required to build the statue himself.


message 44: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) The Alamo Story and Battleground Tour

The Alamo Story and Battleground Tour by Dean Kirkpatrick by Dean Kirkpatrick (no photo)

Synopsis:

Are you going to the Alamo? Read this book first, then take it with you to see and remember it all. Most visitors just see the Alamo compound, where it ended, but the 1836 siege and battle took place all over the city.

The Alamo Story and Battleground Tour is the first Alamo history book that tells the story at the places throughout San Antonio where Alamo events actually happened. This book combines an Alamo history from 1685 to 1836 with a self-guided tour. The places on the tour may be experienced through the pictures in the book or by following the maps and directions the book provides and actually walking the ground where the Alamo heroes walked.

Covering a distance of about two miles, much of it along the San Antonio River Walk, the written history and self-guided tour take you to the locations of: Davy Crockett’s ashes, Jim Bowie’s river palace, General Santa Anna’s death flag, the Cos surrender house, La Villita, the forbidden footbridge, the Old Mill Ford, Jim Bowie’s wedding in 1831, and many others.


message 45: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) A beautiful place worth visiting:

The General in the Garden: George Washington's Landscape at Mount Vernon

The General in the Garden George Washington's Landscape at Mount Vernon by Adam T. Erby by Adam T. Erby (no photo)

Synopsis:

"The General in the Garden" provides an engaging, informative, and richly illustrated introduction to George Washington's landscape at Mount Vernon arguably the best-documented, best-preserved complex of gardens and grounds to survive from eighteenth-century America.

The book's three essays, by Adam T. Erby, J. Dean Norton, and Esther C. White, chronicle Washington's transformation of the estate in the years between the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the stewardship of its gardens by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association since 1860, and the archaeology that led to the recent restoration of Washington's showplace upper garden. Mount Vernon assistant curator Adam Erby examines Washington's critical role in developing Mount Vernon's landscape, arguing that the general drew on British design sources and gardening manuals but adapted them to his own circumstances, creating a truly American garden. J. Dean Norton, Mount Vernon's director of horticulture, traces the evolution of the estate's landscape and recreated gardens across the two centuries since Washington's death. And Esther White, Mount Vernon's director of historic preservation and research, shows how groundbreaking archaeological methods facilitated the discovery of Washington-era garden beds and borders of flowers, shrubs, and vegetables in his upper garden a remarkable find that yielded one of the most significant eighteenth-century garden recreations of our time.

Also included is a lavishly illustrated guide to Mount Vernon's landscape features, introducing Washington's beloved estate to a modern audience.

This book will appeal to many readers from students of American history and culture to gardening enthusiasts to Mount Vernon visitors curious to know more about the estate to which George Washington devoted intense and sophisticated care.


message 46: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) The Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch A Biography by Tracy Campbell by Tracy Campbell Tracy Campbell

Synopsis:

Rising to a triumphant height of 630 feet, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is a revered monument to America’s western expansion. Envisioned in 1947 but not completed until the mid-1960s, the arch today attracts millions of tourists annually and is one of the world’s most widely recognized structures. By weaving together social, political, and cultural history, historian Tracy Campbell uncovers the complicated and troubling history of the beloved structure. This compelling book explores how a medley of players with widely divergent motivations (civic pride, ambition, greed, among others) brought the Gateway Arch to fruition, but at a price the city continues to pay.

Campbell dispels long-held myths and casts a provocative new light on the true origins and meaning of the Gateway Arch. He shows that the monument was the scheme of shrewd city leaders who sought to renew downtown St. Louis and were willing to steal an election, destroy historic buildings, and drive out local people and businesses to achieve their goal. Campbell also tells the human story of the architect Eero Saarinen, whose prize-winning design brought him acclaim but also charges of plagiarism, and who never lived to see the completion of his vision. As a national symbol, the Gateway Arch has a singular place in American culture, Campbell concludes, yet it also stands as an instructive example of failed urban planning.


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