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Capital Speculations: Writing and Building Washington, D.C. (Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies) Paperback – November 4, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the most lively and engaging books now available about Washington's urban design, architecture and interior spaces... Capital Speculations is the successful fruit of a cross-disciplinary approach to writing about place that draws on everything from literature to politics to paintings and maps... Capital Speculations has the potential to change several of the academic fields in which Luria is conversant.” ―The Washington Post

"Luria deftly conceptualizes the politics of circulation as expressed in roads, canals, and railroads, extending that concept to the cast-iron Capitol dome constructed during the Civil War, Whitman's nationalistic poetry, and Lincoln's unifying political rhetoric."―Journal of American History

Review

"With eloquence and imagination, Sarah Luria sheds light on the ever-changing social, political, and literary meanings of the nation's capital. Examining historical figures as different from one another as L'Enfant, Washington, Lincoln, Whitman, Douglass, and Henry Adams, the book moves fluidly through a wide range of materials--novels, poems, domestic architecture, speeches, and photographs--to show how changes in the layout and look of the capital during its first century of existence mirrored ongoing national debates about the meaning and purpose of American democracy. Capital Speculations beautifully blends urban geography, politics, literature, and material culture to enhance our historical understanding of the city inside the beltway." (David M. Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art, Wake Forest UniversityAuthor of Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images)|“A book that changes a field is a rare find. A book that changes several fields is a treasure, indeed. Sarah Luria's Capital Speculations infuses the genre of the city history with fresh intellectual energy,connecting literary criticism with the analysis of art and architecture in deeply creative and historically-grounded ways. Luria's work changes landscapes both physical and metaphysical.” (Catherine Allgor,Associate Professor of History, University of California at Riverside and author of Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and Government)
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Product Details

  • Series: Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: New Hampshire (November 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158465502X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584655022
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,817,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ed Megland on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that belongs on the coffee table of every thinking person living in or interested in the city of Washington. A masterfully researched history, it shows how the city's designers set out to capture the essence of America: a respect for tradition combined with the prospects of a limitless future. Streets laid out in a conventional grid represent the former, while diagonal avenues radiating outward, seemingly to the horizon, represent the latter.

Mistakenly, I had always thought that Washington's design was the brainchild of Peter Charles L'Enfant alone, but this fascinating history graphically illustrates how it evolved over the next century, influenced by the thoughts and writings of Henry Adams, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman, among others. Nor has that evolution ended. A growing Metro that stitches the city into its surroundings, and an ever-expanding Mall that honors our cultural diversity and the many who died to defend our liberties, stand as a welcome counterpoint to the political squabblings that dominate the daily headlines. Washington's architecture captures the spirit of America, and Dr. Luria's perceptive history brilliantly chronicles its evolution.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the politics and history of Washington DC get this book. It presents insight into the architectural choices that were made in the buildings of our nations capital.
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Capital Speculations: Writing and Building Washington, D.C. (Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies)
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