Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aimless Reading: The C's, Part 42.1 (William Cronon)

Cronon, William
Nature's Metropolis:
Chicago and the
Great West

Purchased online a few years ago. This book takes Cronon's eco-historical approach and applies it to the history of a great city. I think I read it fairly soon after I read the previous title. No memories cropping up except an image of the book itself sitting behind glass in the upstairs bookcase in our last house. A reclaimed set of built-in kitchen cabinets, the bookcase stood in a room we had remodeled into a laundry area that lead to the bathroom. Our bedroom was in the next room and I would have read the book in there, late at night, lying in bed.

From the Prologue:

My earliest memories of Chicago glide past the windows of an old green and white Ford station wagon. I was not yet in grade school. Each summer, my family drove from our home in southern New England to my grandparents' cottage on Green Lake, in central Wisconsin. Most of what remain are backseat memories: looking at comic books with my brother, checking odometer readings to measure the tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, counting different state license plates on passing cars. I remember the dramatic vistas of the Appalachians, and the descent into Ohio, but as we moved deeper into the Middle West the landscape became at once more uniform and less interesting. Little of it survives in my memory.

Until Chicago.

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