Reviews

January 4, 2012

Reviews

“Intricate and engaging…Howard’s story is…not only about the birth of American painting, but—through the creation of its first, most long-lasting, and most transcendent human icon—about the invention of America itself.”  —The American Scholar

“Patron of the arts is not the first association one makes with George Washington, but … Washington, who Howard argues was ‘easier to see and admire than to understand,’ is subtly revealed in a narrative that is precisely paced and elegantly composed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hugh Howard’s highly original work offers a completely new perspective on the Father of our Country, examining his life through the eyes of six of the 28 artists for whom he sat, showing how his increasing fame accelerated the development of American painting, and offering insight into how history and myth are made by images… . History is a story, a myth that we are told and that we tell one another, that defines our existence as a people and a nation. What Hugh Howard so deftly tells in this important book is how the arts of painting and sculpture came to take an increasingly central part in our understanding of the first decades of the United States. He also alters our understanding of that amazing man, George Washington.” —Dallas Morning News

“In the delightful The Painter’s Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art, Hugh Howard develops the idea of Washington as a patron of the arts and examines how art and the painting of portraits developed in the United States.”  —Book Page

“By bringing us into the homes of our founders, Homes of the Founding Fathers makes them come alive and reminds us that they were wonderfully human. With great pictures and research, it allows us to imagine their footsteps and to feel our kinship with them. After reading it, I felt wrapped in the warmth of our heritage.”  —Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and Einstein: His Life and Universe.

“What a smart, elegantly conceived book this is! Hugh Howard and photographer Roger Strauss III walk us through the homes of our Founding Fathers, transporting us back in time. A real treasure!” —Douglas Brinkley, The Great Deluge and The Boys of Pointe du Hoc

“A popular biography of Fiske Kimball is long overdue, and Hugh Howard has given us one that artfully weaves Kimball’s career into the lives of the major architects of early America. Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson is a highly-original fusion of the biographies of the founding fathers of American architecture — Jefferson was their progenitor — and the brilliant scholar who helped define them.”  —Jack McLaughlin, author of Jefferson and Monticello

“Howard argues convincingly that Kimball and Jefferson were the Boswell and Johnson of American architecture. Their conversation managed to leap over two centuries of separation and establish, for the first time, the origins of an indigenous American architectural style. And speaking of style, this book truly has it.” —Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of Founding Brothers, His Excellency, and American Sphinx

“The star here is Kimball, who upstages even Jefferson, emerging as a towering figure in American architecture and architectural scholarship.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Howard argues persuasively that were it not for Dr. Fiske Kimball, a twentieth-century scholar and historian who researched his architectural heritage, we might still think of Jefferson as primarily, and exclusively, a talented statesman. … Readers will likely find that Kimball’s single-minded passion for all things Jefferson is contagious.” — Publishers Weekly

House-Dreams is probably the most warmhearted and engaging book about house building I’ve come across. Hugh Howard has done a terrific job of charting the builder’s journey while personalizing it for everyone.” — Bob Vila

House-Dreams is one of the most enjoyable home-improvement books readers are likely to encounter … . Funny, inspiring, educational and blessedly practical — far more so than, say, Tracy Kidder’s ruminative House — Howard’s account grabs you on the first page and never lets go.” — Booklist (** starred review ** )

“This handsome, well-written book makes accessible the work of Thomas Jefferson, ‘the father of our national architecture.’ Through crafty compression Thomas Jefferson, Architect canvasses the extensive new scholarship concerning Jefferson’s and Jeffersonian architecture, stressing the role that his numerous well-known buildings (Monticello, the Virginia Capitol, the University of Virginia) and many lesser-known projects played in his life. … Highly recommended.” — Choice

Thomas Jefferson, Architect [is] an especially illuminating blend of photography and text.” — The New York Times

“A good introduction to Jefferson and the beginning of America’s long love affair with Classicism.” — Architectural Record

Thomas Jefferson, Architect will take its place in the collections of those of use who can never get enough of the Architecture of Jefferson.” — Preservation

The Preservationist’s Progress brings emotion to the literature of historic preservation. . . . It is an eloquent brief for the integration of fragile cultural artifacts into the modern world.” — The New York Times Book Review