Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book Review: "Boston Beheld"

If you're in need of a nice coffee-table book for the Bostonophile on your shopping list, you could do little better than Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views (University Press of New England, 2008). The New England Historic Genealogical Society's D. Brenton Simons has gathered a marvelous, even stunning collection of 65 images of Boston (cityscapes, harbor views, and specific neighborhoods/buildings), to "capture the multifaceted and often picturesque character of a long-vanished town that has given way to a modern metropolis" (p. 1).

In his introduction, Simons offers some of the most interesting and noteworthy descriptions of Boston from early visitors (flattering and otherwise), and his methodology in choosing the images (which come from a variety of institutional and private collections).

Each of the plates is given pride of place on its own page, faced with a full description and a couple paragraphs of descriptive and explanatory text (well-researched, footnoted, and clearly written). The images are well chosen and beautifully reproduced.

A fine volume, perfect for a good browse or an in-depth read.