Frederick Law Olmsted, Close Up

Michael J. Lewis reviews a new biography of Frederick Law Olmsted, which he says reveals new facts about the man who coined the term "landscape architect."

Even though it has new observations, Lewis says it doesn't quite capture "the largeness of Olmsted's achievement":

"In place of the conventional image of Olmsted as idealistic social reformer, he portrays an imperious and disagreeable workaholic, who repeatedly transplanted his family as unfeelingly as he would any sapling. Mr. Martin reproduces a shockingly abusive letter to his stepson, John, whom Olmsted sent to study the parks of Europe and whose letters he found uninspired: "You are not a man of genius in art, a man of less artistic impulse I never knew.""

Full Story: Meaning In a Meadow


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