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America's Lighthouses: An Illustrated History (Dover Maritime) Paperback – February 1, 1988


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A detailed, scholarly, masterly book…and yet the romance is still there."—Chicago Tribune
Beacons of light along the shore have guided mariners for thousands of years—from the days when olive oil lamps burned on darkened hillsides to signal the location of ancient harbors, to modern times when automated stations sent out 350,000 candlepower beams that cut through darkness and fog.
The present volume, the first full-scale study of the United States Lighthouse Service, is a celebration of these vanishing symbols of security. Written by a historian of the National Park Service, this book describes the founding and operation of over 200 famous lights located along U.S. coastal and inland waterways. Beginning with the Boston Light, first lit in 1716, this carefully researched yet romantic account takes readers to every notable light installation in the nation—from New England to Delaware; the South Atlantic to the Florida Keys; the Gulf Coast; San Diego to Cape Flattery; the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain as well as Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
An informative section on lighthouse administration tells of the station's early days—when local authorities attempted to operate them—and their eventual takeover in 1939 by the U.S. Coast Guard. Subsequent chapters describe the development of diverse illumination systems as well as the vast number of changes and technological advances that have occurred in lighthouse construction and maintenance over the past century. In addition to its wealth of technical data, Dr. Holland's fascinating volume also includes dramatic vignettes—about heroic rescues of wreck-strewn sailors and valiant efforts to keep the lights shining in the face of human violence and natural calamity.
This vivid, fact-filled history, enhanced by exciting tales and colorful personalities, is abundantly illustrated by over 100 historic engravings, drawings, and photographs. It is a book that will be prized not only by marine historians and armchair adventurers but by anyone who has ever felt the lure and romance of lighthouses—the lonely sentinels by the sea that have played such a crucial role in the maritime history of America and other sea-faring nations.

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Roads and Ecological Infrastructure by
Roads and Ecological Infrastructure
Conceptual and practical, this book will influence the next decade or more of road design in ecologically sensitive areas and should prevent countless unnecessary wildlife fatalities. Learn more | See similar books

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Maritime
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1988 Reprint edition (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048625576X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486255767
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DJ Rix on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
America's Lighthouses is not a coffee table book with romanticized, full-color photos of the Portland Head Light at sunset. Holland has written a history, & a very good one.

He begins with a summary of the lighthouse in western world history, including the Pharos of Alexandria & the excellent designs created by the British & French.

The reader will come away from this book with an understanding of various systems used to create & magnify light. We learn that the late adoption of the Fresnel lense in America was due to a short-sighted federal government bureaucrat.

The American lighthouse system shaped up with the creation of the Lighthouse Board in 1854.

Holland gives up a clear picture of the keeper's difficult life & the specific duties & routines he or she had to follow.

Following an informative chapter on lightships, Holland takes us on a chronological & regional tour of America's lighthouses, covering dates of operations & architectural types, renovations, & including anecdotal highlights of a station's history.

America's Lighthouses has 100 black & white photos & illustrations - many of them quite extraordinary; 16 architectural line drawings & 8 maps. This is a wonderful book, educational yet filled with the drama of real life at the edge of our oceans & inland seas. Bargain-priced from Dover, too.

Bob Rixon
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Overall a very good book. Not only covers lighthouses but lightships and fog signals as well. Most of the major lighthouses were very well covered, however some of the lesser known ones were not as well covered. The book is a little sparse with pictures, but what pictures it does have are very good. A comprehensive chart listing the charactaristics of the lights covered would be nice. I would not hesitate to purchase this book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on August 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
F. Ross Holland's book is one of the most historically complete books on lighthouses in America. He covers all of the most well known lights and recounts the history of lighthouses in general as well as of many of the individual lights. One chapter, entitled "The Keepers Life," takes some of the romance out of that long lost profession and presents the real life drudgery of those who kept the flame. Holland's book has numerous archetectural drawings and maps of lighthouse locations, but it does not have much in the way of good photographs. All of the pictures, in fact, are in black and white. Still, Holland's book is a great place to start to begin to understand the history of lighthouses.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kwashnak VINE VOICE on December 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Holland gives us a great overview of the history of America's lighthouses which is a wonderful introduction for anyone interested in learning more about this topic. The first third of the book takes us through the history of the lighthouse authorities, and the people involved in various aspects of locating, building and maintaining these beacons. He gives you an idea just how such important aids to maritime traffic evolved often as the lonely stepchild in a system rife with patronage and corruption to a system of still relevant lights on the coasts. Holland then turns his story to looking at the historical progression of building lights in different areas of the country - the upper Atlantic States, Southeastern states, Gulf coast, Great Lakes, Pacific coast. Often times these stories are not significant for one light but become important when woven with the history of other lights in the area. Unfortunately, here he tries to cover too much ground in too much of an overview. While many lighthouse's history consists of a couple of paragraphs of relevant data, to see these again and again starts to numb you to them. I found after a couple of coasts, my interest started to wane, wanting to only read a couple of specific lighthouses' histories. I think that woven as a narrative, these histories would have proven more riveting. Still overall it is evident that Holland has spent time researching his topic and the book is rich in period photographs to help bring his stories alive. A very good book, just not a great one. Certainly one to pick up and learn more about America's lighthouses.
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America's Lighthouses: An Illustrated History (Dover Maritime)
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