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The Most Beautiful Villages of New England (Most Beautiful Villages) Hardcover – October 31, 1997
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From Library Journal
In this handsome addition to the series that includes books on the Dordogne, Provence (LJ 1/95), and Tuscany, travel author Shachtman displays the charms of more than 20 New England villages, from Nantucket, Watch Hill, and Stonington on the coast to the inland communities of Deerfield, Newfane, and Bethel. Many of Rubenstein's original and pleasing color photographs are full-page, taking advantage of the large format of this coffee-table book. The short historical essays by Shachtman are only adequate, while the captions are often disappointing and uninformative. Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, stunningly photographed, is identified only as "the great hall"; a church interior, presumably in Walpole, New Hampshire, is not identified at all; and a field of black-eyed Susans is labeled "dandelions." In addition, the text could have been better wedded to the photographs. Still, this book is bound to be popular in any public library because of the subject matter and attractive work of the photographer.?Linda M. Kaufmann, Freel Lib., Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts, North Adams.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Tom Shachtman is the author of more than twenty books including Skyscraper Dreams and The Inarticulate Society, as well as a documentary film maker.
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To my disappointment, though, the photographers chose rather humdrum locations to highlight. Nothing here is _bad_, mind you. The photos are perfectly nice. There's plenty of predictable photos of clapboard buildings and small town churches and autumn leaves. But it's the predictability that makes this worth flipping through once... and only once. It's as though you had purchased large-format postcards from the ordinary gift shoppe -- not captured something unique and beautiful.
I'm a little astonished that this book has so many pictures of the (admittedly beautiful) autumn leaves in New England (that is, they're beautiful if they don't make you think "Oh geez we'd better top off the heating oil"). But not a single picture of the mountain lupine blooming in the spring that, in my opinion, is far prettier. You'll see several inoffensive photos of boats tied up at the dock at sunset... but almost nothing that reflects the sense of community that can make small-town living so precious.
I'd hoped that this book would bring back a tiny bit of my years on Deer Isle. Alas... I'll have to dig out my own photos for that.