The Statue of Liberty: Birth to Rebirth

S. H. Burchard, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $13.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-15-279969-4
""The story begins at a dinner party where a man named Edouard de Laboulaye was talking about his favorite subject, the United States of America.'' The man had written a three-volume set of books about the country whose independence he wanted for his native France. Among de Laboulaye's guests in the winter of 1865 was the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. His ambition fired by the conversation, he began to plan the statue that would be a gift to America from her oldest ally. Of the books published so far in anticipation of Lady Liberty's centennial in 1986, Burchard's is notable for clarity and its comprehensive coverage. She describes the sculptor's long, arduous labor in pursuit of his dream, the years marked by setbacks and the support of the monument's champions until ``Liberty Lighting the World'' (one of her names) was unveiled on Bedloe's Island, October 28, 1886. But the author goes on from there to shed light on events in America during the 100 years that followed. Period and modern photos accompany the text that details the history of decades when the ``Mother of Exiles'' greeted immigrants, when Liberty kept hope alive during the Depression, when her torch was extinguished as World War II raged. It flashed a V for Victory at last, when the Nazis surrendered, and symbolized fresh beginnings for reunited families at the dawn of the 1950s. Burchard also records the courageous acts of National Park Servce custodians who protected the statue from attacks by protesters during the turbulent 1960s. There is more heartening news as well, about the ordinary citizens who are giving generously, as they did 100 years ago, to finance Lady Liberty's rebirth. (10up)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Genre: Nonfiction
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