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Local Attachments: The Making of an American Urban Neighborhood, 1850 to 1920 (Creating the North American Landscape) Paperback – April 22, 1996

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Editorial Reviews


"A model of neighborhood history that should inspire further work on the subject of urban districts." -- Jon C. Teaford, American Historical Review

"An important addition to the literature on the history of neighborhoods." -- Patricia Mooney-Melvin, Journal of American History

"This work does a stunning job... in making us realize the importance of neighborhoods. It is the best history of a nineteenth-century neighborhood that I have read." -- Clay McShane, New England Quarterly

"Masterfully recreates the complex public life of this urban neighborhood." -- Andrew Wiese, American Studies

"A rich social and architectural history of a special yet resonant American place." -- Jack BeattySenior, Editor, Atlantic Monthly

"Shows the complexity of places that nostalgia has reduced to apparent simplicity. It also shows how far wrong we can go with simple solutions, and suggests humility in taking things apart when we do not know how they work." -- Michael Holleran, Journal of the American Planning Association

About the Author

Alexander von Hoffman is associate professor in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and in the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.


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Product Details

  • Series: Creating the North American Landscape
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (April 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801853931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801853937
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,208,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover
While academic in its approach, von Hoffman tells the colorful story of Boston's political landscape -- shifting away from the independent neighborhoods toward the centralized city government. Von Hoffman focuses on the growth of Jamaica Plain, a city neighborhood which began as a group of country estates on rural Jamaica Pond and transformed by the late 1800s into a dense, vibrant streetcar suburb surrounded by the lush parkland of Frederick Law Olmstead's Emerald Necklace. Most fascinating are the chapters on neighborhood society and the struggle over the construction of the Emerald Necklace. The author ends his analysis in the 1920s, leaving the abandonment of the neighborhood and its late-century revival into a dynamic, ethnicly diverse, family-friendly city neighborhood for a later book. This text is used by Von Hoffman in the class he teaches at Harvard University.
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Growing up in Jamaica Plain made the information in the book more personal. Although technically a textbook, it would be
a great book for people from JP to learn about the neighborhood's beginning.
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