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The Smithsonian's History of America in…
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The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects (vuoden 2013 painos)

– tekijä: Richard Kurin

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1933111,268 (4.14)1
A literary exhibition of 101 objects from across the Smithsonian's museums that together offer a marvelous new perspective on the history of the United States. Ranging from the earliest years of the pre-Columbian continent to the digital age, and from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each entry pairs the fascinating history surrounding each object with the story of its creation or discovery and the place it has come to occupy in our national memory.--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:melannwood
Teoksen nimi:The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects
Kirjailijat:Richard Kurin
Info:Penguin Press HC, The (2013), Edition: Book Club Edition, Hardcover, 784 pages
Kokoelmat:Nathan
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:2014

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The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects (tekijä: Richard Kurin (Author))

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näyttää 3/3
Anybody trying to document the history of America in 101 objects, even just 101 objects from the Smithsonian's collections, is probably on a fool's errand, as Kurin points out himself; no two people would pick the same selection, and that's as it should be, frankly. That said, I think this is a perfectly acceptable selection, and the short narratives about each are quite well done (I found particularly interesting the stories behind how the various things all came to be in the Smithsonian). ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 13, 2018 |
Unfortunately not as compelling as the book that inspired it (the British Museum's "A History of the World in 100 Objects"). While it tackles many important topics, I found that the closer the Smithsonian's book got to the present day, the more the objects seemed chosen only because of their affiliation with the person or historical incident in question, not because they themselves had unique stories to tell. I also found it a little strange that, for example, an entry on an early television set would suddenly start listing Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt and other TV-related items owned by the Smithsonian. And Kirin's tendency to insert himself into the narrative (most blatantly with the piece on 9/11) is incredibly self-aggrandizing and off-putting. It's sad when a book by a museum makes you not want to go to it, but that's the case here. ( )
  bostonian71 | Nov 12, 2015 |
I have been in love with all things Smithsonian since I was an adolescent and visited the museums in D.C. for the first time. My loyalty and love were permanently sealed when one of the curators at the Museum of Natural History, who would often come to Florida to consult with my Dad about orchids, took me through the behind-the-scenes part of the Museum of Natural History, where I promptly wished I could be forgotten and left to get lost in all the wonderful things that didn't make it to the displays. It was the ultimate playground for a tomboy such as myself.

But I have to admit I was a *tiny* bit cynical about this book. I've read Neil MacGregor's History of the World in 100 Objects and thought it a genius, creative way of making esoteric parts of world history immediately accessible to the armchair enthusiast. So, when Degrees of Affection first brought this book to my attention (Thank you Degrees!), I was excited, but at the same time a little voice in the back of my head thought: "Hmph... cashing in on someone else's genius idea and of course we (Americans) just had to add that one extra object..".

Still, I bought the book and couldn't wait to crack it open and start. And right on the first page of the Preface, in the second sentence, Mr. Kurin gives credit and praise to Neil MacGregor and the British Museum for History of the World in 100 Objects as the inspiration for this book. The acknowledgement showed respect and class and I instantly liked Mr. Kurin for it.

I intended this book to be a long-term read, dipped into occasionally and enjoyed right before sleep and certainly, at over 735 pages, I had no illusions that it was going to be a quick read no matter how interesting. But I burned myself out on fiction (see: Murder of Crows) and started picking up this book more often and reading it for longer stretches of time. I joked with DH that I had to 'detox', but truly, this book just makes for interesting reading. The writing is friendly, accessible and not at all dry. Mr. Kurin talks not only about each object, but who owned it, used it, and what events or other objects tied into that object's existence. If its creation has an interesting backstory, or provenance he includes that as well.

Truly, only twice did Mr. Kurin lose me and both times while discussing art: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe and Nam June Paik's Electronic Superhighway. I'll admit I glazed over a bit while he was discussing the interpretation of both pieces and I remember thinking "that's an awful lot to put on the shoulders of a piece of art". The book's end includes a small essay by the author detailing the struggles of choosing just 101 objects; what got left out, what everyone involved battled for, but lost out on. Also, there are a series of maps at the end, each showing North America and how it's boundaries changed during the birth of the United States, and a summary time-line of American History.

If you like American History – you know, the American History that was happening between the battles and the wars; the history of the people and the culture – then I can't recommend this book highly enough. It barely scrapes the surface, but it does so intelligently, respectfully and with accessible and well-written prose. I'm going to cherish my copy and I know it's a book that will be re-read from time to time with pleasure. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
näyttää 3/3
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (4)

A literary exhibition of 101 objects from across the Smithsonian's museums that together offer a marvelous new perspective on the history of the United States. Ranging from the earliest years of the pre-Columbian continent to the digital age, and from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each entry pairs the fascinating history surrounding each object with the story of its creation or discovery and the place it has come to occupy in our national memory.--

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