America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs

National Geographic. National Geographic, $40 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4262-2142-2
This generous collection of more than 250 National Geographic Society photographs, inspired, as Jill Lepore notes in the foreword, by the poem “America the Beautiful,” captures the splendor of all 50 states as well as six U.S. territories. The images are organized into four regions: “The West & Pacific,” where snow-covered trees stand in Yellowstone National Park and the Golden Gate Bridge in California is shown at sunset; “The East & Mid-Atlantic,” where the Chrysler Building looms in New York City and water cascades over the Elakala Falls in West Virginia; “The South & Caribbean,” where a view of valleys in Puerto Rico is seen from the opening of Cueva Ventana and waves crash onto a pier in the Outer Banks, North Carolina; and “The Midwest & Central Plains,” where a rainbow arches over a wheat field in Kansas and tourists balance on slanted glass to marvel at the view from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Celebrities (and some scholars) provide brief but moving commentary on their connection to each state, such as James Earl Jones on Michigan, “a place where a young boy can find his true voice” and Tara Westover on Idaho, who notes “home is not so much a place as a lens through which we perceive the world.” This is a rewarding visual journey. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/27/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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