The best-selling author of Confederates in the Attic returns to the South and the Civil War era for an epic adventure following the trail of America’s first and foremost landscape architect: Frederick Law Olmsted. In the 1850s, young Olmsted was a restless farmer in search of a mission. He found it as an undercover correspondent for the up-and-coming New York Times. The South was an alien, often hostile territory to the Connecticut Yankee–and the readers of the day. For 14 months, Olmsted travelled the South by horseback, steamboat and stagecoach seeking dialogue and common ground. His first-person dispatches about the lives and beliefs of the people he met quickly became vivid social documents about the pre-War South. His remarkable trek also helped reshape the American landscape as Olmsted would go on to create uplifting public places, like Central Park, for people from all points on the compass to enjoy. It’s not surprising that Tony Horwitz decided to head south on his own Olmsted-inspired fact-finding mission about America amid the discord and polarization of our today. As he travels through Appalachia, down the Mississippi River, into bayou Louisiana, and across Texas to the contested Mexican borderland, Horwitz uncovers “vestiges and strange new mutations” of the Cotton Kingdom. His intrepid and often hilarious journey through the American landscape is a masterpiece in the tradition of Great Plains, Bad Land, and his own classic, Confederates in the Attic.
THIS LECTURE WILL BE HELD AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF FALMOUTH, 68 MAIN STREET