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American Ruins Hardcover – November 10, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Once proud and often eloquent sentinels of economic prosperity, America's deteriorating inner-city buildings are, in this unflinching socio-photodocumentary, caught in their death throes. Continuing Vergara's poignant eulogy to urban decay--begun with The New American Ghetto (1995) and Silent Cities (1989)--this project features 300 exteriors and interiors of 70 ghostly ruins. His camera deftly captures squalid Beaux Arts public palaces, reinforced-concrete industrial complexes, high-rise housing projects, and the flotsam of stores, factories, and homes. The accompanying text provides building and neighborhood histories, notes on style, an account of the way the buildings changed over separate visits, recitations of local reactions and responses, anecdotes about ghetto photography, and blistering social critique. Vergara proves a knowledgeable and engaging guide throughout. Highly recommended for all academic and specialized architecture, planning, and sociology collections.
-Russell T. Clement, Univ. of Tennessee Lib., Knoxville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Camilo José Vergara is the author of Twin Towers Remembered and The New American Ghetto and coauthor of Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery. He was awarded a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship. Since 1977 he has documented urban destruction throughout the United States as part of his New American Ghetto Archive; included in the archive are the South Bronx, Harlem, and North Central Brooklyn, New York; Newark and Camden, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles County (South Central, Downtown, East Los Angeles, Pacoima, Compton, Vernon, South Gate, and Huntington Park), California. Vergara has received numerous awards, including grants from the New York Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. His photographs have been acquired by the New York Public Library, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Chicago Historical Society, and Avery Library at Columbia University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (December 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580930565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580930567
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,771,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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