Grand Avenues (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Anyone who has ever visited the National Mall in Washington, D.C., can attest to the magnificent beauty of the “grand avenue” that stretches between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. The diagonal grid of streets in Washington can be confusing to visitors driving there, but their design directs visitors’ sights to the two buildingsthe White House and the Capitolthat serve as the perfect geometric anchors of the city. Set atop a gently sloping hill at one end of the avenue, the Capitol resembles one of the great achievements of republican Rome, and its setting reminds one of the streets and monuments of Paris. Fittingly, the spectacular architectural wonders of modern-day Washington, D.C., grew from the vision and will of one mana ParisianPierre Charles L’Enfant.
In a superb chronicle of L’Enfant’s life and work, Grand Avenues: The Story of the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C., acclaimed architectural journalist Scott W. Berg re-creates the exciting world of a newly independent colonial America striving to build its own memorable cities and institutions. Prior to Berg’s lively and widely praised historical biography, L’Enfant’s story had been a little-known chapter in American history. Berg’s engaging portrait reveals for the first time the genius behind the streets and buildings of the nation’s capital. Using journals, letters, and other archival material, Berg brings to life L’Enfant and the...
(The entire section is 1681 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 30, no. 3 (Summer, 2007): 432.
Booklist 103, nos. 9/10 (January 1-15, 2007): 36.
Kirkus Reviews 75, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 19.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 49 (December 11, 2006): 61.
The Wall Street Journal 249, no. 39 (February 16, 2007): W5.
(The entire section is 25 words.)