From Frederick Law Olmsted to Richard Neutra, Michelle Obama to our neighbors, Americans throughout history have revealed themselves in the gardens they create. Melding biography, history, and cultural commentary, American Eden presents a dynamic, sweeping, one-of-a-kind look at this country's landscapes and the visionaries behind them.
Monticello's gardens helped Jefferson reconcile his feelings about slavery. Edith Wharton's gardens made her feel more European. Isamu Noguchi's and Robert Smithson's experiments reinvigorated the age-old exchange between art and the garden. Manhattan's High Line park, reclaimed from freight train tracks, reimagined an urban landscape.
Moving deftly through time and place across America's diverse landscapes—from Revolutionary-era Virginia to turn-of-the-century Chicago to 1960s suburban California—and featuring an equally diverse cast of landscape-makers, whether artists, architects, housewives, robber barons, politicians, or dreamers, Wade Graham vividly unfolds the larger cultural history through more personal dramas.
Beautifully illustrated, American Eden is at once a different kind of garden book and a different kind of American history, one that offers a compelling, untold story that mirrors and illuminates our nation's invention—and constant reinvention—of itself.