Books, Noted
Brief Reviews of Books New to the Sheves of the CLUI Library

Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhatten Project
Peter Bacon Hales, University of Illinois Press, 1997
Atomic Spaces is the story of the Manhattan Project from a land use and cultural theory perspective, tracing the acquisition of land, its development, and the effect of the program on workers and the local population. Using a vast archive of material amassed by the government Hales compiles a detailed history of the Manhattan Project's impact on the physical and psychological landscape.

Extreme Conditions: Big Oil and the Transformation of Alaska
John Strohmeyer, Simon and Schuster, 1993
Since the oil rush replaced the gold rush, Alaska's economy and politics have revolved around oil. Journalist Strohmeyer follows the path of oil money that has transformed the political landscape of Alaska.

Fire Lookouts of the Northwest
Ray Kresek, Historic Lookout Project, 1998
This is an exhaustive catalog of fire lookout towers in that region, full of photographs, locations, and anecdotes. With hundreds of photos depicting a baffling array of building styles, from crow's nests atop trees, to wood frame buildings perched on narrow rocks, to elaborate stone structures, this is an architectural history both obsessive and sublime.

Go Tell it on the Mountain
Stackpole Books, 1996.
In this collection of essays and journal writings, fire lookouts share their lonely, and when lighting approaches, dangerous life atop the mountains of the west. From bear attacks to hallucinogenic mushroom omelets, this collection of anecdotes chronicles the isolated lives of fire lookouts.

Building the Workingman's Paradise: the Design of American Company Towns
Margaret Crawford, Verso Press, 1995
A great subject which needs more attention. Crawford examines the historical period from the late 1700's to the 1920's, and indicates that company towns, in the USA at least, are pretty much a thing of the past (though American companies may be responsible for the maquiladora factory towns of the Mexican border region). New or expanding industries in relatively remote places, though, still seem to build corporate housing, such as the trailervilles of Hadley and Primm, Nevada.

Handbook of Radio & Wireless Technology
Edited by Stan Gibilisco, McGraw-Hill, 1999.
Around and beyond the earth's atmosphere lies a man-made haze of radio signals, an electro-magnetic sphere of information. The Handbook of Radio & Wireless Technology provides a technical overview of transmission technology, from radio and TV to cell phones, satellites, and navigation systems.

Houses in Motion:
The Genesis, History and Development of the Portable Building

Robert Kronenburg, Academy Editions, 1995.
Often neglected and denigrated by architects, and historians, Kronenburg takes the stance that portable buildings offer viable solutions to economic and design problems. Houses in Motion traces the history of portable structures from Tipis and shipbuilding to the development of trailers and 20th century experimental structures. The book is perhaps most valuable for the last chapter which tackles the image and identity of portable structures and the people that inhabit them.

The Pacific Tourist:
The 1884 Illustrated Trans-Continental Guide of Travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean

Edited by Frederic E. Shearer, Crown Publishers, 1970.
A facsimile edition of a tourist guide published in 1884 and sponsored by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads to draw tourists to the west. A valuable historical resource, this book contains a guide to each city served by the railroad, some that have grown into major urban centers and others that have vanished from the map. The Pacific Tourist provides a glimpse at what the landscape and cities of the west looked like before and during their transformation by tourism and migration.

Railroad Wrecks
Edgar A. Haine, Cornwall Books, 1993
While transforming the landscape and revolutionizing mass transit, the railroad has also produced a fair amount of carnage. Combining Ballardesque accident eroticism with trainspotting, Railroad Wrecks falls into the popular genre of coffee table disaster books.

Rajneeshpuram: Who Were Its People
Bert Weber, Webb Research Group, 1990.
Lost in the storm of negative publicity surrounding the Rajneeshi takeover of Antelope, Oregon and the subsequent charges of election fraud, theft, and salad bar poisonings, was the story of the development of a huge self-sufficient commune. At its height Rajneeshpuram could support festival crowds of 15,000 people with its own reservoir, organic farm, post office, vineyard, and even its own airline. Consisting of essays by followers who remain true believers to this day, Webber's book lacks objectivity and polish, but it does contain some inside information on the development of Rajneeshpuram's complex and short-lived infrastructure.

Road Fever: A High-Speed Travelogue
Tim Cahill, Random House, 1991.
In this gonzo-journalistic endeavor, Outside magazine editor Tim Cahill tells the story of his 15,000 mile journey from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle in a GM truck. Battling customs bureaucrats and bad roads, Cahill completes the journey in less than twenty-four days and makes the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest drive south to north.

Silent Siege III: Japanese Attacks on North America in World War II
Bert Webber, Webb Research Group, 1997.
Webber, whose publishing empire also put out Rajneeshpuram: Who Were Its People, has amassed an exhaustive history of suppressed and forgotten attacks by the Japanese on North America during World War II. The book details Japanese balloon bombs launched from Japan and carried in the Gulf Stream to targets all over the U.S., attempts to start forest fires with incendiary bombs, and air raids on metropolitan areas.

Yesterday's Houses of Tomorrow: Innovative American Homes 1850-1950
H. Ward Jandl with additional essays by John A. Burns, A.I.A. and Michael J. Auer
The Preservation Press, 1991.
Jandl's book catalogs a set of retro-futuristic buildings that put the materials of the industrial revolution together with mass production and prefabrication. Most of these innovations in building techniques and materials have since been incorporated into the building vernacular, but the bold, undisguised use of metal, glass and concrete as design elements in residential architecture has failed to catch on. While few home owners today live in houses with steel or concrete clad walls, many tract homes in the endless suburbs of America sit atop concrete slabs and have walls containing steel studs instead of wood. Lavishly illustrated, this is a post-modern take on modernism, where the optimistic use of new building technologies and industrial materials takes on, in retrospect, a sense of ornamentation and folly.