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Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern Americaby Jennifer Price
Synopses & Reviews
In five sharply drawn chapters, Flight Maps charts the ways in which Americans have historically made connections—and missed connections—with nature. Beginning with an extraordinary chapter on the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and the accompanying belligerent early view of natures inexhaustibility, Price then moves on to discuss the Audubon Societys founding campaign in the 1890s against the extravagant use of stuffed birds to decorate womens hats. At the heart of the book is an improbable and extremely witty history of the plastic pink flamingo, perhaps the totem of Artifice and Kitsch—nevertheless a potent symbol through which to plumb our troublesome yet powerful visions of nature. From here the story of the affluent Baby-Boomers begins. Through an examination of the phenomenal success of The Nature Company, TV series such as Northern Exposure and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and the sport-utility vehicle craze, the author ruminates on our very American, very urbanized and suburbanized needs, discontents, and desires for meaningful, yet artificially constructed connections to nature. Witty, at times even whimsical, Flight Maps is also a sophisticated and meditative archaeology of Americans very real and uneasy desire to make nature meaningful in their lives.
Flight Maps charts the ways in which Americans have historically made—and missed—connections with nature.
Flight Maps charts the ways in which Americans have historically made — and missed — connections with nature.<P>Rather than lighting out for the wild places, Price examines the ways in which we have brought nature into our homes and suburban communities. What place does nature occupy in our hearts and minds? To answer that deceptively simple question. Price sifts through "landscapes" and artifacts as diverse as eighteenth-century cookbooks, dinner menus, the Mall of America, and John Waters movies and ruminates on everything from the extreme popularity of The Nature Company and "Northern Exposure" to the plastic pink flamingo, simultaneously the totem of artifice and kitsch and a potent symbol of our problematic vision of nature.<P>Witty and whimsical, Flight Maps is a sophisticated meditative archaeology of Americans' desire to make nature meaningful in their lives.
About the Author
Jennifer Price attended Princeton University and received her Ph.D. in History from Yale. Her essays have appeared in the collections Uncommon Ground and The Nature of Nature. She lives in Los Angeles.
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