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Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls Paperback – March 1, 2004
"The Black Presidency"
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Denise Hamilton, Franklin Pierce Coll. Lib., Rindge, NH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author gives us the hisory of stone walls starting with the formation of the earth, through formation of rocks, the ice age and finally American history. There is actually more about geology that stone walls themselves, although the author tried mightily to write a few hundred pages about them.
The geology and history is well-written and interesting. I learned quite about when walls were generally built and how the stones came to be that comprised them. However, the last third or so of the book - that part devoted to the walls themselves was often redundant. It seemed the author was searching for words to fill the pages and stretching - like the last pages of a term paper you know should be eight pages but you have to make the assigned ten pages.
A chapter on builders and technique would have been more useful than the stretched parts.
There are pearls of interesting history and I am not sorry I read the book. I just wished it had been shorter by an excision of the redundancies and "stretches".
that seems to be coming too quickly. They urge us to slow down
and to recall the past."
This is only one of the many observations that Professor Thorson
concludes his marvelous book with. I must admit that his final,
summarizing chapter actually brought a tear to my eye - hardly
to be expected from a book on geology and regional history
mixed with, amongst other topics, some anthropology.
In other words this book has enough of everything to satisfy
every curiosity you might have about those tumbled down rows
of stones found in just about every New England forest and
suburb. A surprising wealth of information on numerous topics.
Fascinating scientific and cultural and historical background -
far more than one would ever expect to encounter considering
the topic. And Professor Thorson's writing style is commendably
clear and readable, with a poet's affection for his topic.
Quite simply one of the best nonfiction books I think I have ever
read (and I read quite a lot), for its perfect fusion of research, understanding and sentiment.
Almost an answer to my prayers during so many long, wandering and wondering forest walks.
I encourage you to read this book.
A geologist has the remarkable ability to take small outcrop and reconstruct an intricate and detailed geologic history, often rich with mountains, volcanoes, former ocean basins, earthquakes, extinct creatures, and the like. Thorson applies this storytelling ability, which combines art and science, to stonewalls, but he never strays so far from the facts that any of his conjectures become unbelievable.
As a farmer, I am impressed with Thorson's thorough and accurate understanding of agriculture from the past up to the present day. This is important since agricultural development was the reason that the stones became so abundant and the walls were built. The book also contains some interesting discussions on urban verses rural life, including the recent development of "ruburbia", a blend of the suburbs and country that is taking over rural New England (including the town in which I live).
Thorson's book is fun to read on two levels - first as a scholarly "comeback" meant to take the wind out of the sails of high-flown rhetoric on the ethnic and socio-economic origins and meanings of stone fences. Second, the bits of history and geological information are just enough to allow the reader to understand without being overwhelmed ala James Michener.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book about stone walls. This won't appeal to everyone and in fact may appeal to very few, but I'm a history buff and thought it was very interesting.Published 1 month ago by niagarajeff
A very nice little book. Particularly interesting is that Thorson looks at the walls from the perspective of several disciplines/perspectives. Read morePublished 6 months ago by John W Rodat
I live in the northeast where I have observed these fences. I had no idea I could find such an informed book about them. Now when I see them I know how and why they are there. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sanibel Thunder
This was a gift for someone and they are enjoying the book a lot. They wish there were larger, colored photos but other than that they have no complaints whatsoever.Published 13 months ago by Donna Bill
A very interesting book which answered many of the questions I had about the stone walls which are ubiquitous in my area.Published 16 months ago by Paul Tukey
Our house that we had built 10 years ago is surrounded by a stone wall and I have always wondered how it came about. Read morePublished 21 months ago by CAPK
As the writer notes promise, packed full of fascinating and informative information about the natural and cultural history of New England. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by Kevin C.