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Ghostly Ruins: America's Forgotten Architecture Paperback – September 28, 2006
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An obituary to some of the grandest, oddest and unluckiest building ventures in the country. . . Ghostly Ruins prompts the question: Which of today's buildings, towns, department stores or factories will be the last one standing? -- Traditional Building, April 2007
Curl up in front of a roaring fire with Ghostly Ruins, eerie, black-and-white photographs of dozens of gorgeous old ruins. -- Detroit News, Nov. 4, 2006
The effect is meditative and fine; the book will appeal to anybody acquainted with the pleasures of the unseen. -- Metro Times, Nov. 28, 2006
These inventories of fallen monuments to our ambition as a nation are unsettling for what they say about our culture. -- T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Fall 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is organized in a series of types of building, from residential to industrial. Skrdla has an ironic and tight writing style which clearly expresses his love for these often dramatic examples of man's ego and confidence. He also makes the reader take stock of the increasingly homogenized, sterile, and industrially functional buildings our society is willing to accept. He makes the stong point that we are losing the pride in civic architecture which is the foundation of lasting meaning and beauty.
The book is far from ideal, however. First, it is somewhat superficial. I would have preferred more in-depth coverage of each of the ruins, even if that meant omitting some of the subjects (and there are some obvious candidates, such as the Polynesian restaurant in Detroit, the town in Pennsylvania that had to be abandoned because the seams of coal beneath it caught on fire, and the ghost town in California). Second, and more problematic, is the rather mediocre text. It veers back and forth between trite sentimentalism and bitter cynicism, with scarcely a trace of the poetic that is called for. (The best the author can do is present Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" as a sort of epigraph.)
Even so, many of the photographs evoke, on their own, meditations on mortality and the ravages of time. W.G. Sebald certainly would have delighted in some of the photographs of architectural decay, although he probably would have shuddered at much of the accompanying text.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun, mysterious, and curious all at the same time. If you love old houses and buildings, this book is for you. I would have loved to see many of them in their heyday. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. Andersen
Loved it! Great pictures and comparisons of present and past.Published 8 months ago by diana woodard
Mr. Skrdla captures the old dames in these photographs with grace in description and reminiscence!Published 9 months ago by WaWeWa Lonewolf
Bought two copies, one to give to a friend. Wonderful and fascinating stories. Have already visited two of the ruins!Published 11 months ago by tom
I absolutely love the imagery, not only in the photographs, but in the scenes the author sets up for you. Reading through this is truly an adventure.Published 12 months ago by Rachel Jenkin
It's my dirty little secret to peek inside of old, abandoned buildings and houses, You can get a sense of what it was like to live there back in it's heyday. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Wendy Koch