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Real Places: An Unconventional Guide to America's Generic Landscape Paperback – May 22, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0226109497 ISBN-10: 0226109496

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (May 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226109496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226109497
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Clay's premise in this entertaining guidebook is that generic place-names like edge of town, good address, commuting suburb and inner city obscure the singular features of specific locales. In the same witty manner of his Close-Up: How to Read the American City, he proceeds from abandoned farm to whale-watching site, with stopovers at flea markets, lovers' leaps, hazardous waste dumps, the Pacific Rim, boondocks and other places, discussing each term's roots, historic associations and the preconceptions embedded in it. Based on his coast-to-coast travels of the last 10 years, and illustrated with scores of photographs and maps, this eye-opening handbook of America's cultural geography will foster new ways of thinking about the human-made environment. Urban affairs editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Clay here unravels the geopolitical tensions among cities, suburbs and rural areas, with attention to the clash between developers and sustainers.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Clay (Close-Up: How To Read the American City, 1980) traveled America in a wide swath from Southern California to Massachusetts, gaining insight into the language and terminology we Americans use to define the spaces within which we live and work or merely visit and describe to others. He makes the parlance of human geography familiar and accessible as he explores the derivation and evolution of place names, from hub and vacant lot to hangout and speed trap. American diversity of perception and attitude are delightfully revealed in these fluid terms, which defy rigid definition but remain alive and changing as populations change, land use is altered, and the ravages of zoning law and natural disaster exact their influences. Special human geography and anthropology collections will want this for serious perusal, while the extensive illustrations will make it appealing to public library patrons.?Bruce Alan Hanson, Wayzata East J.H.S. Lib., Minn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By saskatoonguy on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This profusely-illustrated book consists of approximately 120 mini-essays on a slew of topics that relate in some way to urban planning and urban geography, although there's quite a bit on rural geography as well. For some idea of the content, here are the first five of his essay headings, if they had been in alphabetical order: Abandoned farm/town, active zone (i.e., crime zone), air rights zone, airspace, annexation area, all the way to 'wreck site' at the end of the alphabet.
The essays are of uneven quality, and often seem a bit shallow. It's not entertaining enough to succeed as a popular book, and not analytical enough to succeed as a serious treatise. There's a niche for a book that would address topics of small-scale geography in the not-quite-rural but not-city-center places in which most of us spend our lives. Such a book might explain the different ingredients of suburban sprawl -- types of shopping centers, commercial strips, and housing developments, how they develop, how they affect the surrounding area, and how they age. Sadly, this book seemed pointed in that direction but fell short.
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