Underwater Wonders of the National Parks:
A Diving and Snorkeling Guide Compiled by the National Park Service
Daniel Lenihan, Fodors, 1998
Focuses primarily on the natural wonders, but there are some interesting sites illustrated in this Fodors guidebook. A report on diving into Devil's Hole in Death Valley, for example; underwater ranch houses at lake Amistad in West Texas; numerous wrecks off the coastal parks; and preserved petroglyphs on the submerged canyon walls at Lake Powell.
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built
Stuart Brand, Viking Press, 1994
A classic in a class by itself. Given that the author is the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, its no wonder that this book has the look and feel of the great architecture books written in the 1970's.
Trespassing: An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land
John Hanson Mitchell, Addison Wesley Publishers, 1998
In a wonderful earlier book, Living at the End of Time, Mitchell vividly describes his life in the thinning woods between the office parks and highways of the historic/high-tech industrial suburbanscape outside Boston - Thoreau's old Walden Pond neighborhood. This new book is similarly personal, regional, and often tangential. Not that these are bad things, but this is not the definitive book on Trespassing, nor does it try to be. But it would be nice if someone wrote that book.
A Guide to the Sculpture Parks and Gardens of America
Jane McCarthy and Laurily K. Epstein, Michael Kesend Publishing, 1996
The only book of its kind that we know of, and therefore indispensable. The country is divided into four sections, Northeast, South Midwest, West and Southwest, and the parks are described in concise narratives of over a page each. All of the listed parks are open to the public.
Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life
Tom Lewis, Viking Press, 1997
A history of the people and politics behind the creation of the Interstate highway system. A PBS documentary of the same name was also produced and cowritten by Lewis. "[Imagine] a wide sidewalk extending from the earth to a point in space five times beyond the distance to the moon; that's how much concrete was poured for the Interstates..." (from the preface).
The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940
E dited by Stephen Schwartz, Brookings Institution, 1998
Imagine brand new dollar bills on top of one another in a tight stack (200 per inch) reaching as high as the ionosphere. Then imagine the stack continuing to the moon. Now you're about half way to imagining five and a half trillion dollars, the amount this book estimates has been spent on building, deploying, defending against, and cleaning up after nuclear bombs. Far more than an economic analysis though, this long-awaited inventory
exhaustively explores the structures and sites associated with the bomb. A must for any nuclear land use library.
Martin Parr, Phaidon, 1999
This collection of English postcards presents a wonderful record of modernist civic architecture, highways, airports, trailer parks, waiting lounges, and other exciting landscapes, all portrayed in the otherworldly shades and tones of the old postcard printers. Clearly, when it comes to postcards, the more boring the better!
The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book
William A. Gordon, North Ridge Books, 1995
The best tourbook of "Hollywood" sites we've come across, by far. Accurate and updated stars homes, death sites, tv locations, industry sites, and more.