Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Visions of America by Joseph Sohm

August 4th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


Thanks to Lisa, Online Publicist, for the chance to review this book!

Description: Visions of America addresses a single question: How do you photograph democracy? After all, democracy is an “idea” and not something one can easily wrap one’s lens around.

But photographing democracy is indeed what Joseph Sohm has done in this epic journey across the 50 states. To capture this country’s incredible diversity, Sohm framed his national work as George Seurat might a pointillist painting.

With each photograph, an individual dot was applied to his American canvas. Spanning three decades, tens of thousands of images were assembled in what becomes a compelling mosaic. Sohm takes us on an insightful journey down the back roads and byways of the U.S., which ultimately leads to a deeper understanding of who we are as a nation.

Visions of America is a sweeping portrait of life in the American democracy, a portrait that shows us the United States. With a foreword by legendary travel writer, Paul Theroux and lyrics by two of America’s most distinguished songwriters, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Visions of America is a work of historic significance.

I have to start off with just one word about this book-Wow!  Normally when a book comes in for review I’ll date when it’s received and schedule when I am going to read it and post a review but I could not resist going through this book the night I received it.  It even caught my husband’s eye as he passed by me and he peered over my shoulder to look at the amazing photographs.  Just a few samples of what is in this book:




And to be honest these are not even the ones I would say were my favorites.  My husband laughed but one of my comments was after seeing Sohm’s photographs I need to go visit Utah now!  Believe me, nothing against Utah, but it’s never been high on my list of places to go until I saw the amazing images in this book.

Not only does this book contain over 1300 images but there are also essays through out the pages that really make you think and appreciate the country we live in.  Sohm traveled across the country and caught images from every state that will make your draw drop.  In his words:

“Over thirty years, this book was the driving force behind my ongoing adventure to capture the images of Democracy. Those 30 years could also be translated into 10,000 days of my life; 1,000 nights in a Motel 6; 1,000 nights sleeping in my RV; 200-250 radial tires and 1 million miles by air and car.”

And let me be the first to say thank you for all the work Joseph Sohm put into this book.  If there is one book you buy to place on the coffee table for all your visitors to page through this would definitely be one of my top choices.

About the author: Joseph Sohm is a Photo-Historian. He has published 50,000 times in National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, History Channel and MSNBC. His photographs appear in President Clinton’s My Life and his Presidential Library, in Bill Mahr’s Real Time, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and on John Grisham’s “King of Torts” and NBC’s “Concert For America.”

To see more amazing images and learn more about this book visit the Visions of America website.

Posted in Books, Non-fiction

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