Traces of J. B. Jackson: The Man Who Taught Us to See Everyday America

Product Details
University of Virginia Press
Publish Date
7.2 X 8.2 X 0.9 inches | 1.5 pounds
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About the Author

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor Emerita of History and American Studies at Smith College, is the editor of Landscape in Sight: J. B. Jackson's America and author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America.


"Twenty years after J. B. Jackson's death, it is both exciting and appropriate to have this original intellectual biography by a historian who has brought scholarship and real affection toward a giant of landscape studies. Jackson had the most impressive intellect I'd ever encountered. I wanted to know where that mind came from, and anyone who has read his books is likely to wonder the same thing. To have a careful biography that sincerely tries to answer that question is of great value and use. The chapters based on Jackson's travel diaries comprise the heart of the book, and because Jackson is such a brilliant diarist, and Horowitz is such a terrific curator, the results are dazzling."

---Robert Calo, producer/director of the PBS documentary J. B. Jackson and the Love of Everyday Places

We have known J. B. Jackson, the man, only at arm's length through his erudite, confiding essays. Now, Helen Horowitz has given us the full arc of his life. Most telling are the extended passages from his never-before-seen journals, which take us on his solo motorcycle rides across mid-century America, journeys through loneliness to an affirming vision of how the human desire for community is inscribed on the land. Anyone whose eyes have been opened to the vernacular cultural landscape by his essays will delight in Traces of J.B. Jackson.

--Chris Wilson, University of New Mexico, coeditor of Drawn to Landscape: The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson

[An] excellent biography... [Jackson] was appalled by the prospect of details about his 'personal history' being published after his death, and forbade Horowitz--whom he appointed as his literary executor--from writing or releasing such material. Horowitz ignored Jackson's proscription, however. Her necessarily incomplete account of his life--structured in the form of nine intersecting essays--is by turns loving and anguished, admiring and angry.

--New York Review of Books