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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2000
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
on August 16, 1999
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
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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2008
I was a little disappointed because the title of the book said, Illustrated copy and there were hardly any pictures. I sent this book to a man who speaks very little English and I wanted a book where he could view the different lighthouses of America.
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on September 11, 2013
Fortunately there are better, more descriptive books on the history of America's lighthouses. Some of the descriptions are good but others are skimmed over or left out. An example is the Umpqua River Lighthouse. It's not listed with the lighthouses in Oregon but there are a few lines thrown in here and there.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
I expected color pictures and more details. The cover looks inviting, but the inside did not match. This book went straight to the bookshelf.
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