In the Memory House recalls what American society has forgotten--the land, its people, and its ideals. By examining what we choose to remember, this important book reveals how progress has created absences in our landscapes and in our lives.
|Edition description:||None ed.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Howard Mansfield writes about architecture and American history. He is the author of Cosmopolis: Yesterday's Cities of the Future. He has written for national publications including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Heritage and Historic Preservation. He lives in Hancock, New Hampshire.
What People are Saying About This
Anyone interested in small town America should read In the Memory House....it is a lucid, unsentimental, consistently interesting book.
How often do we see ourselves described so beautifully? So movingly? So accurately? In the Memory House is so good it gives you the shivers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A lovely book of essays about the history of place, particularly New England. The first essay, from which the book's title comes, examines the contents of a few of the many historic house museums maintained by local historical societies. "What is saved and what is discarded, who is remembered and why--all that is significant," notes Mansfield, commenting on a filled bottle in one such museum labeled, "This barley was grown in 1883 and given by Mrs. Selden Grey." An affectionate study.
Occasional pieces on various aspects of New England history. Nice essay on Lowell and Kerouac, interesting pieces on Frank Pierce, on New England town meetings, on Mt. Monadnock development. Exceeded expectations.
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!
When In the Memory House was first published in 1993, it garnered extraordinary reviews. The Hungry Mind Review said: "Now and then an idea suddenly bursts into flame, as if by spontaneous combustion. One instance is the recent explosion of books about the idea of place...the best of them, the deepest, the widest-ranging, the most provocative is Howard Mansfield's In the Memory House." Mansfield’s book hits even closer to home today. He writes: "We have everywhere an absence of memory. Architects sometimes talk of building with context and continuity in mind, religious leaders call it tradition, social workers say it's a sense of community, but it is memory we have banished from our cities. We have speed and power, but no place. Travel, but no destination. Convenience, but no ease." He’s not nostalgic. "Visitors to New England usually arrive with a lot of baggage," he has said. "They are weighted down by a lifetime of Norman Rockwell, and Currier and Ives. They want nostalgia and quaintness. In the Memory House is an attempt to see New England plain. I was looking for the contours of historical memory itself. "Memory is a defining characteristic of New England -- this great desire to mark the landscape with historical monuments, to crowd little museums full of small acts of homage, and to tell certain stories." Each story in the book is about a moment of commemoration -- or the failure to commemorate. At such moments, our aspirations are on full view. When we seek to honor something, we are staking a claim: This is us. In history, unlike heredity, we choose our ancestors. Mansfield visited many small museums and local historical societies which he calls "memory houses." He examined the changes in Town Meeting and the changes in our local landscape: the loss of the elms, and the bulldozing of an entire neighborhood, Boston's West End. He explored the histories of Franklin Pierce, Thoreau, Johnny Appleseed and Jack Kerouac. With these stories, “Mansfield gets beneath the patina of the tangible and intangible relics of our history to locate the emotional core of our past,” said The New York Times Book Review. “Through the intensity of his language, his pace and wit, the predisposed reader can take the leap into collective memory and even catch, with Mr. Mansfield, that damp, sweet scent of the past….[a] wise and beautiful book." In the Memory House is “informed by a humane spirit that prizes imagination while respecting fact,” said the Smithsonian magazine. It is “a clearheaded, warmhearted book." The Boston Book Review called it "provocative and elegant." And the great writer and critic Guy Davenport, author of The Geography of the Imagination, said: “That our country has for some years now been losing its democratic soul, its independence, and perhaps its mind has been noticed by various thinkers. None, however, has written about this loss as attentively, wisely and engagingly as Howard Mansfield."