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Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America (New Atlantis Books) Hardcover – February 25, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review


"In this important book, insightful thinkers—from poets and philosophers to geographers and planners—explore one of the most disorienting results of our dazzling technological advances: an increasingly attenuated sense of place. Just decades ago, such a book would have been superfluous; today it is essential in a rapidly globalizing and digitizing world."

BRUCE COLE
Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Former Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities

"Both liberals and conservatives celebrate, each for their own reasons, the freedoms that modern life gives us, but we all too easily forget that to be liberated from one set of constraints is to become captive to another. Neither nostalgic nor polemical, Why Place Matters illuminates the “mind-forg’d manacles” of modern mobility, and in so doing teaches us why learning to love where we live—and, so to speak, learning to live where we live—is critical to human flourishing."

ROD DREHER
Author of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

"Cities are the crucibles of modern civilization. This unique and thought-provoking collection of essays will be crucial for helping anyone who cares about cities understand how they do or do not meet human needs in this new century. I will refer to this collection again and again."

ROD GOULD
City Manager, Santa Monica, California

"In our age of increasing rootlessness and digital disembodiment, this splendid book shows us how to think our way back, practically and philosophically, to the solid ground of place—the home, the neighborhood, and the city."

STEVEN LAGERFELD
Editor, The Wilson Quarterly

About the Author

Wilfred M. McClay is the SunTrust Chair of Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Ted V. McAllister is the Edward L. Gaylord Chair and Associate Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Atlantis Books
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594037167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594037160
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John on June 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In any collection of essays, the most important objective is choosing the right topic that will open up and stimulate further discussion. The contributors on their part must represent diverse views, yet propose solutions that point in the same general direction.

In this respect, editors Wilfred M. McClay and Ted V. McAllister achieved success in their excellent book, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America. It is a collection that challenges the reader to enter into discussion, yet also points toward organic solutions outside the box of modern academia.

The subject matter of this book is very important: the notion of place in an increasingly global and digitally disembodied world. It strikes on a profound chord since the sensation of rootlessness and anomie weighs heavily upon postmodern society. Place really doesn't seem to matter.

Modern technology and gadgetry have supposedly annihilated time and space. People no longer need places to call their own since it no longer matters where they live. Everyone is connected to their devices and supposedly "liberated" from the past constraints of traditions, family ties...and places.

However, this book proves the contrary. As Wilfred McClay notes in the introduction, "We stand powerfully in need of such stable and coherent places in our lives--to ground us and orient us, and mark off a finite arena, rich with memory, for our activity as parents and children, as friends and neighbors, and as free and productive citizens."

McClay and McAllister invite the reader to consider what happens when there is no sense of place and all places are made to look the same. This becomes all the more necessary in a polarized nation where points of unity are lacking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Anderson on October 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection deserves four stars, five withheld for only the few.

Ah "place", the lamenting of which seems to be shared, though disproportionately, by both traditionalists and progressives. I highlighted five of the seventeen essays as especially moving and certainly worth the entrance fee; the other twelve of high quality, but more specific and detailed rather than broad and philosophical.

This apolitical collection of essays reminds us of what our highly transitory culture is sacrificing when its upwardly mobile choose to remain unrooted. Herein is found smart critiques of cosmopolitanism as inherently inhuman and uninteresting along with powerful and persuasive cries for localism over centralism. I find this work highly important and relevant; if you are like me and yearn for the more humane community of ancestral village life to be somehow, and admittedly impossibly, coupled with modern medicine, this collection can help make sense of the compromise we have made.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Boo Radley on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An extremely important book, especially for our low information youth, in today's simplistic "I'm just a citizen of the world" culture.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jagem409 on March 13, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! A nice addition to my collection!
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