Books by William Leach

Released: April 23, 2013

"For general readers, the esoteric minutia may overwhelm. For naturalists and butterfly buffs, however, this is an unusual, pinpointed slice of American life enlivened with fragments of correspondence and reproductions of plates from classic books of the period."
An expansive historical account of the 19th-century figures whose enthusiasm and perseverance shaped natural history studies on butterflies. Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 1999

"These are all valid arguments and well made, but they—re not new: many American social critics from Lewis Mumford to J.B. Jackson, Jane Jacobs, and Tony Hiss have made them before, and Leach doesn—t do much to bring them onto new ground."
A well-intentioned but not groundbreaking essay in cultural history, with a transparent title and an equally transparent argument. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Fascinating, detailed, and evangelical: a yellow brick road full of rare adventures, intriguing characters, and surprising vistas. (Twenty-four pages of photos—not seen)"
In an alternate history of modern American life from 1890 to 1927, Leach (History/Columbia; True Love and Perfect Union, 1980) offers an encompassing, learned, and fast-paced account of how entrepreneurs, manufacturers, bankers, clergymen, and government leaders produced a culture of consumers—as well as the rituals, morality, aesthetics, and institutions that identify the good with the goodies, acquisition with virtue. Read full book review >