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An Elegant Wilderness: Great Camps and Grand Lodges of the Adirondacks (The Architecture of Leisure) Hardcover – July 11, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Gladys Montgomery and Acanthus Press make a seminal contribution to the literature on the subject with this book. Drawing on the vast collections of the Adirondack Museum s library and historic photographs, as well as other regional repositories, Ms.Montgomery skillfully depicts the social milieu,architectural precedents, decorative aesthetics, and environmental awareness that stimulated the Adirondack rustic architectural style, along with the individual stories of the people who built the camps and lived the grand life there. --Caroline M. Welsh, Director Emerita, The Adirondack Museum

...the most comprehensive book yet about Adirondack rustic architecture and its origins. --Lake George Mirror, July 21, 2011

...the most comprehensive book yet about Adirondack rustic architecture and its origins. --Lake George Mirror, July 21, 2011

About the Author

Gladys Montgomery is an award-winning writer and editor. The author of five books and the founding editor of Berkshire Living Home + Garden, she has penned more than 200 magazine features about architecture, design, antiques, and historic buildings, which have appeared in regional, national, and international publications. In 2007, she transposed this expertise into a real estate career with The Kinderhook Group. She lives in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Architecture of Leisure
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Acanthus Press; First Edition edition (July 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0926494473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0926494473
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Roald Euller on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book. Which isn't to say it doesn't have good points. Written in collaboration with the Adirondack Museum, the author drew upon the museum's archives to assemble a very nice array of period photographs. The text is informative. In particular it discuses each camp's chain of ownership across the generations. This is material which is not readily available.

So why was I somewhat disappointed? For a book written in collaboration with a museum, I would have expected something a little more scholarly. In particular, Elegant Wilderness is lacking with respect to maps and diagrams. At the very least there should have been an overall map of the Adirondacks indicating the location of each camp. Also sorely needed were sketch plans of the layout of each camp. A half a dozen photos for each camp, with no clear indication of orientation, made it impossible to visualize the overall arrangement of the buildings.

One example of this: the day before I purchased this book, I took the guided tour of the Sagamore camp near Raquette Lake. I was struck by the layout of the buildings, the contrast between the "upper" and "lower" camps, the isolation of the staff buildings, the magnificent setting of the main camp and dining hall overlooking the lake, etc. But when I looked at the Sagamore chapter in Elegant Wilderness, none of this was apparent. I could glean little about how the buildings related to one another and how the camp overall was oriented. Something that a simple sketch plan could have alleviated.

Let me be clear: I don't regret purchasing Elegant Wilderness. I have a long standing interested in the Adirondacks and the Great Camps and I usually reflexively buy anything related to that topic. In that sense this books fits in well with my interests and I enjoyed perusing it. I just wish it had better realized its potential.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nesmuck on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There is very little new material here. The writer has taken wonderful photographs from the museum's collection, but the text itself provides little new information about the properties. The lack of maps is also regrettable.
In addition the writer swipes whole sentences from other published works without attribution. For instance, the section about the Carnegie Camp is taken from a well researched article in Adirondack Architecture by another author. Letters are also quoted with absolutely no citation.
I am surprised that the museum would lend its name to this type of cut and paste book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RWE on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This would be a great book if there were accompanying maps, diagrams, or plans. As is it is a series of pictures with a little bit of info on the owners. I have noticed with each passing edition that there are fewer and fewer plans published in Acanthus books. I understand that this is an editorial position, but these are, after all, books on domestic architecture. For the price Acanthus charges for these books I expect more. It is too bad that they seem to be either getting lazy or just think those of us interested in architectural history are just happy with pictures and brief summaries. I was thinking of advance ordering the volume on San Francisco houses coming this fall, but I think I will wait and look first. Way to go Acanthus.
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