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Gone: A Photographic Plea For Preservation [Hardcover]

Nell Dickerson , Shelby Foote , Robert Hicks (Foreword) , Deborah Smith , Nell Dickerson (Photographer)
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15, 2011 1611940036 978-1611940039 2nd
Photographer and architect Nell Dickerson began her exploration of antebellum homesteads with encouragement from her cousin-in-law renowned Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote. Her passion for forgotten and neglected buildings became a plea for preservation.

Gone is a unique pairing of modern photographs and historical novella. Foote offers a heartbreaking look at one man s loss as Union troops burn his home in the last days of the Civil War. Dickerson shares fascinating and haunting photographs, shining a poignant light on the buildings which survived Sherman's burning rampage across the Confederacy, only to fall victim to neglect, apathy and poverty.

GONE is a powerfully moving volume that will change how you see the forgotten buildings that hide in obscurity across the Southern landscape.

From the photographer:
The Civil War had been over for exactly ninety years in 1954, when my cousin, Shelby Foote, published--PILLAR OF FIRE--as part of his novel, Jordan County: A Landscape in Narrative. The book's stories painted a vivid picture of a fictitious Mississippi county steeped in Southern culture.

PILLAR OF FIRE took readers into a heartbreaking and commonplace scene late in the Civil War, when Union troops moved through the civilian South destroying not only plantations but also ordinary homes and cabins. Those troops, battle-hardened and bitter from the loss of their own brethren, shared the tragic effects of war.

In PILLAR OF FIRE, they take no joy in burning a home in front of its dying, elderly owner and his frail servants. The cruelty of the circumstances is as much a given for them as the dying man's grief over all the memories that burn with his house.

Now, on the eve of the Civil War's 150th commemoration, my mission is to draw attention not only to the architectural heritage devastated by the war but also the heritage we've lost since then: to neglect, to poverty, and to shame, as the war's infamy colored the attitudes of later generations and tainted the homes those generations inherited. What the war didn't take, time and apathy did. And yet those grand old homes whether mansion or cabin deserve our reverence and protection.

Frequently Bought Together

Gone: A Photographic Plea For Preservation + Lost Plantations of the South + Robert W. Tebbs, Photographer to Architects: Louisiana Plantations in 1926
Price for all three: $79.49

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Editorial Reviews


There is great irony to be found in her powerful images of such fragile places. --Robert Hicks, author of THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH

About the Author

Nell Dickerson is an architect, a Hollywood set designer and a fourth-generation cotton farmer with ties to her family's ancestral land in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Nell conducted building assessments of some of the region's most historic structures for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Her seminal experience and photos of that tragedy were published in a photo essay, a call-to-arms for conservation of the South's rich architectural traditions.

Nell's photographs have been included in juried and gallery shows around the country. She continues to collaborate with several agencies to preserve, protect, and rebuild the rich culture of the South.

Shelby Foote 1917-2005
In 1954, Shelby Foote launched a twenty-year project in which he hand wrote (with a quill-tip dip pen) the 1.5 million-word, 2,934-page history The Civil War: A Narrative.
Although Foote had previously written six novels, including the one from which PILLAR OF FIRE is excerpted, it was his epic history of the Civil War that made him famous. In 1990, acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns featured Foote's insightful and eloquent commentary in Burn's eleven-hour-long PBS series, The Civil War.

Foote appeared eighty-nine times in Burn's The Civil War, dissecting the nation's most complex story for an audience of fourteen million people over five nights.

In the course of his long career Foote received three Guggenheim fellowships, a Ford Foundation grant, and a National Book Award.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: BelleBooks, Inc.; 2nd edition (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611940036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611940039
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Photographer and architect Nell Dickerson began her exploration of antebellum homesteads with encouragement from her cousin-in-law, renowned Civil War historian and novelist, Shelby Foote. Her passion for forgotten and neglected buildings is manifested in "GONE: A photographic Plea for Preservation," (BelleBooks 2011) the first book in a series to capture and preserve the rich culture of the South.

Her second book, "Porch Dogs," (John F. Blair, Publisher 2013) explores the lost tradition of Porch Sitting as preserved by our dogs. This beautiful collection of environmental portraits of dogs and their historic porches is available wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardcover Will Become a Collector's Item April 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Gone, A Photographic Plea for Preservation, is notable for its extraordinary and evocative photographs by Nell Dickerson, each a memorial to the history of the pre- and post-Civil War South. The photographs are technically excellent, subject-compelling, and true works of art.

Unfortunately, as much as the book's Forward would wish the photographs to be a catalyst for a movement to restore and protect the physical elements of our once-proud and uniquely American cultural legacy from the kind of decay shown in the photographs, I fear the plea will be lost in the fog of an ever-increasing multiculturalism within America and an educational and political system that not only fails to appreciate those legacies, but that is also largely ignorant of them.

Gone also features Shelby Foote's short story titled Pillar of Fire entwined within the photographs. Foote's story is an excellent fictional account of the rise of the landed-class of the South in the 1800s, climaxing with a vivid account of the destruction of a plantation by the Union Army during the Civil War. Foote's writings about the Civil War have always given me the impression that he personally lived every skirmish and every battle, and his skill with Pillar of Fire is no exception.

Between the emotionally-charged photographs and Foote's insight into the rise of the agrarian South and the Civil War impact on that society, I predict Gone will become a classic first-rate collector's item.

(Note: I received a pdf format from the publisher for early review. It was very difficult to read successfully on Kindle without sacrificing either the text or the photos. Perhaps the Kindle format is easier to read. I'll let subsequent reviewers make that determination.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old buildings of the South needing preservation April 23, 2011
This e-book was received from LibraryThing through their Early Reviewers program.

On the eve of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, as many citizens are discussing this important event in the history of the United States; we are asked to take a look back and consider what we can do to preserve the old buildings from this period of our country's past.

This book combines the outstanding photographs of Nell Dickerson with a wonderful story "Pillar of Fire" by her cousin-by-marriage, Shelby Foote, about a Southerner's house being burnt to the ground by a troop of Union soldiers.

As an amateur photographer, this book has a special place in my heart. The startlingly beautiful photographs depict old southern mansions that even though they are slowly decomposing are magnificent in their decay.

Through the story we follow the destruction that was perpetrated against one family's home and we, the reader can see at the same time, this devastation reflected in the accompanying images.

The fusion of the narrative with the pictorial illustrations moves the reader in a very poignant way. This book is highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning photos, great story, one quirk January 12, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Civil war era short story by Shelby Foote made this an exceptional book. I could visualize everything he described; he was truly a master writer with an incredible gift. The old houses shown are indeed haunting, and I would have liked to have seen twice as many. There was only one thing that stopped me from giving this a five star rating--the jarring photo of Mr. Foote in his thin tattered pajamas on his Memoriam page! Who on earth picked this photo to represent him? This looked like a dreadful "old uncle in the nursing home" picture. He always came across as a person of immense dignity, a gentleman from another era due great respect. Considering how upscale this book is, the use of this photo was extremely inappropriate and makes me cringe every time I pick up the book. The photo was not a tribute to a supremely talented man. In my opinion, it came across as an "end of life" indignity. The rest of the book was stunning, I suppose that's why the final picture was like opening someone's bedroom door, a little too personal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Two Books in One June 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Forward: not rated/unread
Short story: rated 5 stars
Photos: rated 5 stars
Photographer's notes: rated 2 stars
Afterward: rated 4 stars

Gone: A Photographic Plea For Preservation is almost like two books in one. It is comprised of two main components, a short story by famed Civil War Historian, Shelby Foote, first published almost exactly 90 years after the civil war ended, and the photographs of his cousin, Preservationist, Nell Dickerson, who also wrote the photographer's notes and afterward, which closes the book on a hopeful note. Additionally, there's a forward by Robert Hicks, which, I'll admit, I did not read.

I requested this book for review through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, but was not lucky enough to receive one of the limited number of review copies. Shortly after discovering that I had won a different book, an email from the publisher provided a link to the online version of Gone - which shows only half the pages, and mostly photos at that, while I wanted most to read the story, but the online version was enough to prompt my purchase of the book, which I had been considering anyhow.

Shelby Foote's short story, "Pillar of Fire", and his cousin, Nell Dickerson's photographs are almost a point - counterpoint performance. At the beginning of Pillar of Fire, Shelby details the aristocratic society that was prominent in the south prior to the Civil War, while the photos provided by Nell Dickerson show what has become of some of those beautiful homes and other buildings, which comprises a plaintive plea for preserving our past.

Later, the story tells of the wanton destruction perpetrated by the northern soldiers as retaliation for the rebels firing upon the yankees...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the book
Find it comical that the not only is the book jacket upside down, the entire book is bound upside down and goes from back to front. Read more
Published 1 month ago by stephanie jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I love history and have toured a lot of plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana. But to have this book published and then see so many more that I didn't even know existed and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I bought this as a Mother's Day gift for my mom who is an artist and loves old buildings and homes. I only glanced at and read the first few pages but I know she will enjoy it.
Published 13 months ago by P. Hamblin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book...
Anything associated with Shelby Foote is a class act, from beginning to end.
I am pleased to have this in my special favorites category.
Published 13 months ago by Georgia
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelby Foote's GONE
Excellent writing, as usual with Shelby Foote's work, and beautiful photos enhance this sad story of a way of life long gone, with only vestiges here and there remaining to teach... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jo Shafer
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful historic photography
This book deserves to be seen if for no other reason than the spectacular photography of dilapidated antibellum homes throughout several states. Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. E. Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Once they are gone, they are gone forever....
This book is well written. I admire the work of preservationists when it comes to historical homes. There is a short story in this book written by Shelby Foote. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sylverdollar
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I gave this to my grandmother as a Christmas gift, and she loved it! I looked through it as well, and thought it was great. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful & haunting
Beautiful and haunting photos.
Wonderful text by Shelby Foote who
is always a delight to read. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Marlene Buchhalter
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Photography.....
I received my copy of this last year as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers Programme.

I was intrigued about the storyline,the history and words behind the... Read more
Published on February 10, 2012 by Anglers Rest
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