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New West
by Wolfgang Wagener, AIA, RIBA, and Leslie Erganian

SAH/SCC Life Members Wagener and Erganian present an utterly charming and novel way to chronicle history—through images found on postcards. Culled from their personal collection of linen postcards, the images serve up an idealized view of the American West from 1930s to 1950s. Beautifully reproduced showing brilliant colors and “linen” texture, the 500 postcards in the book are woven together with an intensely researched narrative replete with timelines and demographic charts. Organized by subject matter, the book delves into chapters on innovation, landscape, infrastructure, architecture, and entertainment, each beginning with an essay by either artist Erganian or architect Wagener establishing historical context. Postcards are captioned with the original text extolling the virtues of mountains, dams, freeways, beaches, factories, and forests, among other subjects (those having no original description are captioned by the authors and noted as such). The combination of scholarly research, impeccable presentation, exhaustive examination, and sheer visual delight make this a volume to appeal to professorial historians and casual nostalgists alike.

Hirmer Publishers, 2019, 320 pages, hardcover, $65.

 

 

 

 
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