on January 30, 2007
This is a revised and updated reissue of the book that first appeared three decades ago. I have always been fascinated with the physical planning and development of the city where I was born (and again work in today)---and this is by far the best single history of that process over more than two centuries. Essentially focused on the work of the National Capital Planning Commission first formed in 1926, the study begins with the initial laying out of plots in the late 1790s, and then traces how the city has grown and changed in the decades since. Sometimes this development has been a matter of good planning, but almost as often that has not been the case. The overlapping concerns of local and federal government bodies (such as the older Commission of Fine Arts) is made clear, as is the central importance of both L'Enfant's original plan, and the 1901 McMillan Commission report that lay the ground for today's modern city. Well illustrated, this is a readable story of how the nation's capital city came to be the way it is.
on November 7, 2011
Very informative and well documented book about our nations capital. I lived there for 20 years and studied what I could about this fascinating city, but this book provided me many more insights than I would have imagined had escaped my personal study. I recommend it for those who can work through its rather dry text. The plates are worth the price alone, so even if you don't read it, you will like it.