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American Green: The Obsessive Quest For The Perfect Lawn

Americans are locked in a love-hate relationship with their lawns, and Ted Steinberg tells you why.The rise of the perfect lawn represents one of the most profound transformations in the history of the American landscape. Today the lawn is one of America's leading "crops," outstripping cotton in acres by a factor of two. American Green, Ted Steinberg's witty exposé of this sometimes bizarre phenomenon, traces the history of the lawn from its explosion in the postwar suburban community of Levittown—just miles from where Steinberg grew up—to the present love affair with turf colorants, leaf blowers, and riding mowers. For half a century, Americans have been on a quest for the greenest, weed-free, ultra-trim turf imaginable. But perfection has its costs. Blending muckraking journalism and social history, Steinberg looks at both the lighter and the darker side of the all-American landscape, from mower accidents and pesticide poisonings to lawn-mower racing and the man so addicted to perfection that he re-created Augusta's 12th hole in his backyard. 40 illustrations.

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton; 1st edition (March 6, 2006)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0393060845

ISBN-13: 978-0393060843

Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #90 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Lawns #70769 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences

But were afraid to ask.Perhaps it isn't as amazing that someone would tackle this verdant subject as that there are actually two books which advertise themselves as a history of the lawn (see also The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession), and that both include a form of the word obsession. It is important to state up front that I have completely missed out on this particular passion - crabgrass, clover and dandelions are welcome in my front yard, as are the ruts underneath the swing-set, the impressions left by my hammock frame, and the inevitable proliferation of mystery grasses growing up through the cracks in my sidewalks.I give that little bit of personal information because I'm trying to define exactly who I think this book is best suited for: The lawn-owner who has not yet crossed over to the fanatical, but who suspects they may be headed there. (Remember - people who don't have a problem obsessing over their lawn don't sit around wondering if they have a problem obsessing over their lawn.) If you are genuinely interested in your yard, yet are still able to have a sense of humor about your ardor, then this well-researched and sincere history of the lawn, lawn-care, and its future is targeted at you. If, on the other hand, you, like Clint Eastwood, are more likely to target trespassers on your lawn with a double-barrel shotgun, then perhaps there are other avenues open for your reading pleasure. (

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