New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Two NYU Historians' Books Named Among New York Times' "100 Notable Books of 2009"

December 7, 2009
N-173, 2009-10

Two New York University historians’ books were among the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2009,” a list published in the December 6 New York Times Book Review: Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits, a biography of photographer Dorothea Lange, by Linda Gordon, and Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, which chronicles Henry Ford’s attempt to create an American company town in the Brazilian Amazon, by Greg Grandin.

Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (Norton) charts Lange’s journey from polio-ridden child to wife and mother, to San Francisco portrait photographer, to chronicler of the Great Depression and World War II. Behind the lens, Gordon finds a complex individual-driven, but exquisitely sensitive, passionate and businesslike, who was demanding of herself and others, but a generous mentor and devoted friend.

“Lange was by no means the saintly, self-effacing personality that many had assumed, extrapolating from her photography,” Gordon says. “On the contrary: she was driven by ambition, sometimes irritable, often demanding-yet uncommonly sensitive and generous. In short, a personality of intensity and complexity and, therefore, a particularly fascinating subject.”

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books), a National Book Award Finalist in the nonfiction category, recounts Ford’s attempt to turn a tract of land twice the size of Delaware into a rubber plantation. But the venture was more than that. Drawing parallels with English Puritans seeking to complete the Protestant reformation by coming to the New World, Grandin writes that “what made Fordlandia more quintessentially American was the way frustrated idealism was built into its conception.”

Fordlandia, Grandin concludes, was Henry Ford’s worldview put into practice. The author cites the observations of journalist Walter Lippmann to make his case.

“Lippmann identified in Henry Ford, for all his peculiarity, a common strain of ‘primitive Americanism,’ ” Grandin writes. “For Lippmann, Ford represented the essence of Americanism not just because he embodied a confidence born of money but also because he reflected ‘our touching belief that the world is like ourselves.’ ‘Why shouldn’t success in Detroit,’ Lippmann asked, ‘assure success in front of Baghdad?’ ”

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Graduate School of Arts and Science

Type: Press Release

langefordhoro

Search News



NYU In the News

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer