- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0142004103
- ISBN-13: 978-0142004104
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West Paperback – March 2, 2004
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“One finds it hard to remember what things looked like before this book appeared in the world.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The imagery of a poet, the ideas of a theoretician, the rhythm of a thoroughbred and the force of a Southern Pacific locomotive.” —San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Rebecca Solnit is the author of numerous books, including Hope in the Dark, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. In 2003, she received the prestigious Lannan Literary Award.
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In the hands of a less skill author, a central character as eccentric as Muybridge could easily have overtaken the narrative. I mean he did kill a guy in a jealous rage. But the murder, the insanity defense and the legally impossible jury verdict are all contained in a single chapter. The larger story, the technological development of the 19th century, continues.
We also get a close look at Leland Stanford, the beginning of the transcontinental railroad and the early history of San Francisco, although I did feel Slonit sometimes strained to connect the camera, the railroad and California into a coherent story.
This is the first book I have read by this author, but it won't be the last. I was really blown away by this.
Loved the book--Great Narrative, First-Rate Research, Excellent Writer.
Solnit makes insightful connections between traveling by rail and the moving pictures (river of shadows) and captures interesting verbal snap shots of an era.