Preservation Summer Reading!

Author: Katlyn Cotton
Jun 16, 2021

It’s summertime and you’re probably ready to skip out of work early Friday afternoon, tuck a good book into your bag, and head to the beach. And if you’re anything like us, you may want to take the time to do a little preservation-related reading. That’s why in this month’s PresPoll we wanted to know what you’re reading! The results are in and you all did not disappoint. 

This poll asked about preservation-related books in thirteen categories. PlaceEconomics colleagues suggested books within each category to constitute the survey, but for every question there was also an opportunity for survey respondents to suggest books they felt should be included in that category. Respondents were asked to rate the books on the following scale: 1 = Poor; 2 = Fair; 3 = Good; 4 = Very Good; 5 = Excellent. The option “I don’t know this book” was the alternative choice. There was also a fourteenth, open-ended question for survey respondents to identify books they felt should be in a preservation library. It’s clear that as preservationists, our bookshelves need to be large–you all recommended an additional 100 books!

Our interests as preservationists span topics and fields, from sociology, to architectural history, to racial justice, to environmental sustainability, and more and your book choices reflect that.   

Here are some highlights of the results, and you can download the full report here.

Best Known books

  • A Field Guide to American Houses, McAlester
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs
  • Devil in the White City, Larson
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Berendt
  • With Heritage So Rich, Rains

Highest Rated books

  • The Color of Law, Rothstein
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs
  • A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, Washington
  • A Field Guide to American Houses, McAlester
  • Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America, Wright
  • The Power of Place, Hayden

Books we didn’t know about but glad that you recommended

  • Experimental Preservation, Otero-Pailos 
  • Somerset Homecoming, Redford
  • Pillars of the Earth, Follett
  • The World Without Us, Weisman 
  • Cost of Sprawl, Ewing and Hamidi
  • Motel of the Mysteries, MacCauley

Books we are going to read next:

  • Katlyn: Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, Taylor
  • Alyssa: Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America, Harris
  • Starr: The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good Through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements, Bruce
  • Donovan: Playing with the Past: Exploring Values in Heritage Practice, Clark
  • Rodney: Designing with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage, Birnbaum and Hughes

Happy reading!

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