WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Story of Our Nation's Capital by Howard K. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Story of Our Nation's Capital

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A whopper on Washington--its development as a city intertwined with a capsule history of the country--written by the well-known news commentator and illustrated generously with photographs, some of considerable immediacy. In the nineteenth century, this is best for what it reveals about the city itself--its lack of promise as a commercial center, its decoration with marble and desecration with slums, the advantages it offered to Negroes; beginning with Wilson and continuing to the present, attention shifts largely to figures on the national scene, and Washington becomes primarily the site of decisions, with a brief respite for recent attempts at beautification. The tone is informal, almost conversational throughout, and the absence of pedantry is refreshing. But the book loses somewhat in usefulness for libraries because of its bifocal approach: the story of the city is scattered, the story of the country is interrupted. Give it a plus as retrospective journalism, a reluctant minus as a reference source.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1967
Publisher: Random