This poignant, first-of-its-kind book, celebrates words that define America's storied past and symbolize the drive of its people-from the boardrooms of Manhattan to the farm fields of Iowa. Author Ryan Coonerty highlights profound phrases inscribed on 52 monuments and public sites. Some are famed monuments like the Lincoln Memorial; others are simple or stark places of honor, such as Angel Island, where immigrant Chinese scrawled their words on imprisoning walls. Etched In Stone unfolds the American saga from four perspectives. "In Praise of Public Lives" (Jefferson Memorial; Martin Luther King gravesite) celebrates leaders, thinkers, and innovators. "Ordinary Heroes" (Gettysburg Battlefield; Korean War Memorial; Memphis Firehouse), honors ordinary people who did extraordinary things. "Bearing Witness" (Salem Witchcraft Victims Memorial; Clayton Jackson McGhie Museum in Duluth) seeks to remind future generations of horrendous moments in history that must not be repeated, while "A More Perfect Union" (IBM School House; Dexter Gate at Harvard University; New York Public Library) reveals the promises of America-freedom and future.
Ryan Coonerty is vice president of Bookshop Santa Cruz, and a lecturer of Law at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and The London School of Economics, he writes for numerous magazines and newspapers and is co-writing a "postcard" history of the city. Carol Highsmith is the author/photographer of nearly 30 photographic books on architecture and landscape and has been published in Smithsonian, Time, the New York Times, Architecture, the Washington Post Magazine, and Life. She is a long-time resident of Washington, D.C.