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Capital Losses: A Cultural History of Washington's Destroyed Buildings Hardcover – March 17, 2003
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“The most lavish look at any American city's lost architecture that has yet appeared.”—The Washington Star
“The stories . . . are as good as anyone’s gothic novel.”—Washington Post Book World
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Top Customer Reviews
The book memorializes dozens of buildings lost to the wrecker's ball. Each edifice is featured in a one- to two-page chapter that includes splendid vintage photographs. The accompanying write-ups always discuss design elements, thanks to the authors' encyclopedic knowledge in this area. The story of each structure is then expanded into a discussion of the designers, builders, and notable inhabitants. "Capital Losses" is a survey of history, intrigue, gossip as well as architectural styles. That's what makes this book so fun.
The authors' sympathy for historic preservation is to a fault. Narratives hardly attempt to recognize the social, economic, and technological forces that so often make demolition inexorable. For example, the advent of central air conditioning initiated the doom of many hotel and office structures that could not be economically retrofitted. In addition, the post-war demise of downtown commercial areas also accelerated the decay and eventual destruction of many classic structures.
To be fair, an analysis of causal forces was not the intention of this volume. It pays homage to Washington's folksier history in an elegant manner. This is a wonderful coffee table book.
Credit for this work goes to its author who has accomplished the near to impossible - an engaging and personal history of Washington DC told through the destroyed architecture and the people behind the buildings and their creation. The illustrations are gorgeous, but its Goode's way with worlds that allows the reader to lose themselves in the history of the buildings profiled.
I would imagine that this type of book in the wrong hands would become an academic tome, dry and technical. Goode brings the people of the District to life for the reader, and compels the reader to look for more.
If the book fails, it is in the lack of a comprehensive map of the whole District of Columbia. If you are not familiar with the streets and layout of the city (itself genius) then the book can be confusing.
Ideally, I would suggest this as a gift to anyone interested in history, city planning, government or historical architecture.
and therefore I simply left it, but the pictures inside haunted me for a long time,
and now finally a copy in Amazon for a cheaper prize.
Washington D.C. prior to the rise of modern buildings,(some of them were really ugly)
was a very quaint city. Filled with beautiful houses and places of worship. However,
the winds of modernization obliterated them and this was a terrible loss for the
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating on DC architecture that is no longer with us. Great photos and history.Published 21 months ago by Musette
Great black and white photos of a bygone era with all the details a history buff would want. Not just homes.Published on February 2, 2014 by Janice Feinglass
Lovely book with pictures that will stir memories in the hearts of all native Washingtonians and those who wish they were!Published on March 28, 2008 by Martha