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Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (New York Review Books Classics)

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Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590172735
ISBN10: 1590172736
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

George R. Stewarts classic study of place-naming in the United States was written during World War II as a tribute to the varied heritage of the nations peoples. More than half a century later, Names on the Land remains the authoritative source on its subject, while Stewarts intimate knowledge of America and love of anecdote make his book a unique and delightful window on American history and social life.

Names on the Land is a fascinating and fantastically detailed panorama of language in action. Stewart opens with the first European names in what would later be the United States—Ponce de Leóns flowery Florída, Cortéss semi-mythical isle of California, and the red Rio Colorado—before going on to explore New England, New Amsterdam, and New Sweden, the French and the Russian legacies, and the unlikely contributions of everybody from border ruffians to Boston Brahmins. These lively pages examine where and why Indian names were likely to be retained; nineteenth-century fads that gave rise to dozens of Troys and Athens and to suburban Parksides, Brookmonts, and Woodcrest Manors; and deep and enduring mysteries such as why “Arkansas” is Arkansaw, except of course when it isnt.

Names on the Land will engage anyone who has ever wondered at the curious names scattered across the American map. Stewarts answer is always a story—one of the countless stories that lie behind the rich and strange diversity of the USA.

Synopsis:

This beloved classic about place-naming in the United States was written during World War II in a conscious effort to pay tribute to the heritage of the nation's peoples. George R. Stewart's love of the surprising story, and his focus not just on language but on how people interact with their environment, make Names on the Land a unique window into the history and sociology of America.

From the first European names in what would later be the United States-Ponce de Leon's flowery Florida, Cortez's semi-mythical isle of California, and the red river Rio Colorado-to New England, New Amsterdam, and New Sweden; the French and the Russians; border ruffians and Boston Brahmins: Names on the Land is no dry dictionary but a fascinating panorama of language in action, bursting at the seams with revealing details. In lively, passionate writing, Stewart explains where Indian names were likely to be kept, and why; the fad that gave rise to dozens of Troys and to Athens, Georgia, as well as suburban Parksides, Brookmonts, and Woodcrest Manors; why Brooklyn is Dutch but looks English and why Arkansas is Arkansaw, except of course when it isn't.

His book has delighted generations of road-trippers, armchair travelers, and anyone who ever wondered how their hometown, or (more likely) the next town over, could be called that. Stewart's answer is always a story-one of the countless stories that lie behind the rich and strange diversity of America.

About the Author

George R. Stewart (1895—1980) was born in Pennsylvania and educated at Princeton. He received his Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia University in 1922, and joined the English faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1924. He was a toponymist, founding member of the American Name Society, and a prolific and highly successful writer of novels and of popular nonfiction, especially dealing with U.S. history and with the American West.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Julie Anderson, June 19, 2008 (view all comments by Julie Anderson)
"Names On The Land" by George R Stewart is a re-release of a book originally published in 1945. If you are a fan of language, history, or Americana, you will be fascinated and delighted by this read. Stewart (1895-1980) stated in his original forward that he wrote the book mostly due to his fascination with names. As I read this book, I myself became fascinated with the logic behind names. From names that truly sprouted 'from the ground' and describe an area or place, to how and why some foreign names survived and some were quietly (or not so quietly) laid to rest, to the names that reflect the history of America and its tumultuous relations with various foreign realms, to the names which reflect the reawakening of various heritages, not the least of which is our own native American, the sheer scope of the book is breathtaking. This riveting tale is composed of short chapters that easily allow one to read straight through or in shorter passages as time or temper allow. If the true measure of a book is its ability to stand the test of time, Stewart's effort suffered very few changes in this latest version. Most of the changes are the result of political and geographical change (i.e. Alaska and Hawaii were not states when the book was originally written) and yet his comments are still piercingly valid today.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781590172735
Author:
Stewart, George R
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Introduction by:
Weiland, Matt
Introduction:
Weiland, Matt
Introduction:
Krulwich, Robert
Author:
Stewart, George R.
Author:
Various
Author:
Weiland, Matt
Subject:
Names, geographical
Subject:
History, Local
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Historical geography
Subject:
United States History, Local.
Subject:
Names, Geographical -- United States.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
US History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
New York Review Books Classics
Publication Date:
20080631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8.04x5.14x1.15 in. 1.27 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Sale Books
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (New York Review Books Classics) Used Trade Paper
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$6.50 In Stock
Product details 432 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590172735 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This beloved classic about place-naming in the United States was written during World War II in a conscious effort to pay tribute to the heritage of the nation's peoples. George R. Stewart's love of the surprising story, and his focus not just on language but on how people interact with their environment, make Names on the Land a unique window into the history and sociology of America.

From the first European names in what would later be the United States-Ponce de Leon's flowery Florida, Cortez's semi-mythical isle of California, and the red river Rio Colorado-to New England, New Amsterdam, and New Sweden; the French and the Russians; border ruffians and Boston Brahmins: Names on the Land is no dry dictionary but a fascinating panorama of language in action, bursting at the seams with revealing details. In lively, passionate writing, Stewart explains where Indian names were likely to be kept, and why; the fad that gave rise to dozens of Troys and to Athens, Georgia, as well as suburban Parksides, Brookmonts, and Woodcrest Manors; why Brooklyn is Dutch but looks English and why Arkansas is Arkansaw, except of course when it isn't.

His book has delighted generations of road-trippers, armchair travelers, and anyone who ever wondered how their hometown, or (more likely) the next town over, could be called that. Stewart's answer is always a story-one of the countless stories that lie behind the rich and strange diversity of America.

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